Two months into the implementation of IMO’s global cap on sulphur in fuels, how are scrubber adopters handling the change?
During the opening session of Riviera Maritime Media’s Maritime Air Pollution (MAP), Americas Conference, industry panellists were generally positive but saw varying degrees of progress across the industry.
Carnival Corporation vice president of corporate shipbuilding Michael Kaczmarek said speed and human error factored heavily in his assessment of Carnival’s installation of scrubbers across its fleet of cruise vessels.
“From an owner and operator perspective, even though we had an aggressive installation program, I think we could have accelerated it more so that we are not still updating equipment well into 2020 and 2021,” said Mr Kaczmarek. “Other than that, I always worry about operator error. As long as there is room for error, then there will be error, so I think it is important to try to press more and more towards simplicity and automation.”
The Marshall Islands Registry Maritime Administration senior vice president, regulatory affairs Nicholas Makar spoke of a collective willingness of shipowners in his registry to comply with sulphur cap regulations and the growing interest in scrubber installations.
“The number of requests for exhaust gas cleaning approvals has skyrocketed, proving that [shipowners] are really trying to follow guidelines,” Mr Makar said. “In an informal compliance survey conducted among our shipowners, 80% of the owners responded, and of that 80%, less than 1% reported issues with compliance.”
Examining the transition from an emissions control perspective, Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 executive director Ian Adams said the industry’s success in the sulphur cap transition boded well for its ability to handle further change.
“I think we, as an industry, developed regulations with plenty of notice, a fact that has been proven with a virtually seamless 2020 conversion,” he said. “At the end of the day, it was 12 years ago when we came up with the actual regulations, and now that they are in effect, we are moving forward in the right way. I think we should be patting ourselves on the back – we have shown that our industry can achieve anything.”