In little more than six months the IMO global sulphur cap swings into operation. Even now there is still a great deal of discussion about scrubbers, their effectiveness and the availability of the new fuels. With less than six months to go there is still uncertainty among some in the maritime community as to the preferred options in order to be compliant with the new cap.
Recently BIMCO and INTERTANKO published a joint Q&A report examining the contractual implications of the cap in relation to scrubbers. This is of particular relevance and importance for ship owners and charterers when chartering ships fitted with scrubbers. The majority of those affected by the new regulations have ship plans in place although for some, even at this late stage, there are still ship owners deliberating on scrubbers.
For the past 30 years, Aderco has been supplying fuel treatments to the maritime sector and we understand the needs of ship owners, ship managers and operators. As we approach the summer of 2019 we have been reiterating our advice to our customers that the flushing and cleaning of tanks prior to bunkering new fuel is the most imperative of the tasks needed to be addressed. This is a vital task to avoid non-compliance, with flushing and cleaning of tanks using fuel treatment requiring around six months of fuel treatment use. This is the simplest and most effective way to begin compliance and without the expensive alternative of installing a scrubber.
The introduction of the new fuels will come with an understandable variable quality depending on the bunkering location and supplied fuel components. There will also be concerns over corrosion, sludge and other contaminants that could have a detrimental effect on many maritime diesel engines. Whether the solution chosen is scrubbers or low-sulphur fuel, these issues will remain. The use of an accredited fuel treatment will remove these contaminants and control the sludge that can often lead to clogged filters and engine breakdowns. At this stage of the journey towards 2020 and with the clock ticking, the question is not whether ship owners have scrubbers but do they have viable alternatives in order to be compliant.