A new guide published by water monitoring specialist Rivertrace tackles the subject of wastewater discharges and their potential environmental impact
The guide covers Marpol regulations controlling discharges from exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers), exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system bleed off, bilge water treatment and tank washing systems.
The fall in crude oil prices in 2020 has led to an increase in scrubber uptake, with systems even being specified for newbuildings with dual-fuel capability. Analysts believe scrubbers will be the optimal means for large ships to comply with emissions regulations.
The efficacy of open-loop scrubbers have come under scrutiny with claims they merely shift pollution from air to sea and there are prohibitions on the use of these scrubbers in several ports.
Contrasting evidence, presented in a CE Delft study commissioned by the Cruise Lines International Association Europe, suggested open-loop discharge did not breach established guidelines.
CE Delft presented the paper to IMO in February 2020, and CE Delft senior researcher and consultant Dagmar Nelissen presented the paper to delegates at the 2020 Clean Shipping Alliance in London.
New IMO guidelines for scrubbers were formulated in February 2020, but restricted time at virtual meetings held in November 2020 (MEPC 75) and June 2021 (MEPC 76) meant the subject was dropped at both meetings.
The Rivertrace guide examines current regulations in detail and anticipates future guidelines on water quality and monitoring for scrubbers and EGR. It also covers regulations on monitoring oil content in bilge water and from tank washing systems in tankers, including a section on the science behind monitoring and the various methods employed in modern monitoring systems.
Rivertrace managing director Mike Coomber said, “Regulation around monitoring is a hot topic in the shipping industry. Although IMO has found it necessary to concentrate on other issues at the present time, the controversy around exhaust gas cleaning is not going away and we anticipate more national and regional authorities taking independent action. This guide will help owners and operators understand the issues and take appropriate action to ensure compliance.
“The need to develop harmonised international rules covering wastewater quality and monitoring is pressing. At Rivertrace, we are constantly refining our product range and developing new systems that give shipowners the confidence of knowing their vessels are meeting all regulatory requirements and avoiding the chance of penalties and detentions.”
The guide can be accessed here.
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