The Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA 2020) has expressed concerns over the European Commission’s (EC) proposal to the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) regarding the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems.
The EC’s proposal, which was submitted to the IMO on February 8, urges the organisation to amend its guidelines for exhaust gas cleaning systems, also known as scrubbers. It calls for the “evaluation and harmonisation” of scrubber discharges across all ports, worldwide.
CSA 2020 executive director Ian Adams described the proposal as an attempt to push forward restrictions on scrubbers. He added that the cleaning systems are accepted globally by the IMO, European Union (EU) and others as means of improving air emissions quality in controlled areas.
However, as HLPFI reported here, there is a growing number of port authorities that have or will prohibit the use of scrubbers, or place conditions on their use.
“Within two weeks of a draft surfacing, the EC had taken the proposal to a one-day working party review and then submitted it to IMO,” explained Adams. “Clearly this was planned to avoid the open discussion and deliberation that a proposal with such far-reaching impact requires. In the absence of credible evidence to justify such a major departure from the existing rules, the proposal is instead based mostly on speculation,” he claimed.
CSA 2020, which represents over 30 commercial and passenger shipping companies and aims to support the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems as a way to meet the upcoming environmental regulations in shipping, said the proposal from the commission “is beyond disappointing”.
Adams added: “I am sure Brussels is very aware that existing scientific data shows significant air emissions improvement from scrubbers, with no likely impact on the ocean environment, but it appears the submission to IMO was prepared with speed rather than accuracy.”
The proposal is intended for consideration by the 74th session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 74) which meets in May, in London.