Fujairah Bans Open-Loop Scrubbers

Bunker terminal at the port of Fujairah (file image)

Published Jan 24, 2019 2:44 PM by The Maritime Executive

The port of Fujairah is following California, Massachusetts, Belgium, Singapore and China in banning open-loop scrubbers within its jurisdiction. 

In a brief notice to mariners, harbormaster Capt. Tamer Masoud said that "the Port of Fujairah has decided to ban the use of open-loop scrubbers in its waters." Ships will have to use compliant fuel at Fujairah after the IMO's 0.5 percent sulfur content cap takes effect in January 2020, he said. 

Capt. Masoud did not specify whether the ban extends to closed-loop scrubbers, which retain residues from exhaust cleaning on board. Singapore, which also bans open-loop scrubbers, has decided to allow scrubbers in closed-loop operating mode, and to provide reception facilities for scrubber wastes. 

Fujairah is a key bunkering hub, and its private terminals will continue to sell both IMO-compliant LSFO and non-compliant HFO, which can be used legally in almost all localities and in international waters in conjunction with an open-loop scrubber. As local or regional bans on scrubbers can only extend to the edge of the governing jurisdiction, ships with this equipment may still switch to high sulfur fuel once they reach the open ocean - where the great majority of their voyage and fuel expenditure occurs.  

The Clean Shipping Alliance, a recently-formed consortium of shipowners who have adopted scrubbers, has expressed concern that "arbitrary" local scrubber restrictions could impact the business of hundreds of shipping companies and thousands of vessels. The CSA estimates that about 150 companies have invested in scrubbers, including industry leaders like Maersk Lines, Carnival, Frontline, DHT, Navig8 and Oldendorff.