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Foreship: Scrubber inquiries up in wake of IMO 2020

Feb 25, 2020 01:23 PM

The consultant reports 'emerging market misgivings' over the quality and availability of 0.5 percent sulfur fuel

The following is text of a news release from Foreship:

(HELSINKI) — Independent naval architect and marine engineering company Foreship reports a growing number of shipowners are reviewing their decisions on the best way to meet International Maritime Organization (IMO) 2020 emissions restrictions. The consultant said it has seen an unprecedented surge of inquiries on how exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) can be fitted at short notice, following emerging market misgivings over the quality and availability of 0.5 percent sulfur content fuel oils.

After entry into force of the new rules limiting fuel sulfur content on Jan. 1, many of the shipowners that implemented scrubbers have reported a relatively smooth transition through IMO 2020 rule changes. Conversely, the higher costs of very low sulfur fuel oils (VLSFOs) have been aggravated by concerns that include an unexpected black carbon emission issue.

“The realities of IMO 2020 have caught many offguard, with some in the market quickly shifting from contemplating whether a switch to scrubbers was advantageous to considering how soon they can practically do so," said Foreship EGCS project lead Olli Somerkallio. “Uncertainty surrounding low-sulfur fuel oils is causing owners to reconsider whether they made the right choice on scrubbers, with fresh inquiries on equipment evaluation and installation arriving almost daily.”

Latest figures from consultancy CRU indicate that 3,756 vessels have exhaust gas scrubbers either installed or on order. By the end of 2020, up to 15 percent of oceangoing freight capacity will employ the machinery, with the number now expected to rise to 20 percent by 2025.

Having built a team of 15 engineers specialized in scrubber consultancy over nine years and a 58-ship reference list spanning six vessel types, Somerkallio said Foreship has played its part in bringing scrubber payback times down to 12 to 18 months. He added that, in the run-up to the Jan. 1 deadline, equipment suppliers worked hard to reduce installation times, with a number of ro-ro freight vessel, tanker and bulker projects involving scrubbers installed as pre-outfitted modules to minimize work on board. Nevertheless, shipowners still need assurance that the systems have been fully evaluated and optimized, whatever the time pressures.

“We understand that this is a difficult moment for ship operators who have followed the rules only to find themselves at a competitive disadvantage,” he said. “While VLSFOs may well be costing more day to day, the scrubber is still a multimillion-dollar item whose evaluation, selection and installation will benefit from advice that is independent of the supplier and the shipyard.”

About Foreship

Foreship is an independent company specializing in ship design and engineering. Employing more than 100 naval architects, marine and structural engineers, interior and HVAC designers and electrical engineers, Foreship provides a complete range of naval architecture and marine engineering solutions. Customers include the world's largest cruise lines as well as passenger, cargo and offshore shipowners, leading shipyards and maritime suppliers.

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