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ship scrubber

Torm delays some scrubber installations to first half 2020

Product tanker owner Torm has pushed back some of its scrubber installations to the first half of next year due to delays and to take advantage of current strong freight rates.

Torm is installing scrubbers on 44 vessels in its fleet and so 16 have been completed the company said in its third quarter results statement.

“As seen across the entire industry, Torm has also experienced some delays in recent scrubber installations. Torm has decided to postpone some installations to the first and the second quarter of 2020 to reduce the risk of further delays, and also to utilise the current strong market,” the company said.

As a result the 28 remaining scrubber installations are stretched out as follows: seven more in 2019, 12 in first quarter 2020, and nine in the second quarter.

Read more: DHT postponing scrubber retrofits as VLCC spot market booms

A combination of the impact of the upcoming IMO 2020 regulation and US sanctions against Cosco subsidiaries for trading VLCCs with Iranian oil have seen product tanker rates ramp up sharply in the fourth quarter of the year.

“As the demand and supply balance tightens towards the upcoming IMO 2020, individual events have caused spikes in product tanker freight rates to levels last seen in 2008,” said Torm executive director Jacob Meldgaard.

“For the fourth quarter, our bookings as of 8 November 2019 were at $19,531 per day reflecting the strong market we are currently operating in.” For the third quarter average rates were $13,392 per day.

For vessels in Torm’s fleet not fitted with scrubbers that will burn compliant, low sulphur fuel to meet the requirements of IMO 2020, the company  has started bunker tank cleaning in the third quarter.

“The first volumes of compliant fuels have been delivered and tested on board the vessels, and all non-scrubber vessels are in the process of being prepared for using the new compliant fuels during the fourth quarter of 2019,” Torm said.