A video of a failing scrubber system is quickly spreading on social media. The clip shows how large quantities of wash water are pouring down on the main engine of the ship, adding fuel to an already heated debate about scrubber technology.
The incident happened on an unidentified vessel. In the video (see below), a huge amount of water is pouring down through the ceiling and onto the main engine. Although the clip does not provide proof that the water is actually from a scrubber system, it is a logical explanation as there usually aren’t any other systems installed directly above an engine that use such quantities of water.
With the implementation of the new IMO 2020 sulphur regulation only a few months away, the video comes at a bad time for scrubber advocates. Shipping companies and research institutes have been fiercely debating the usefulness of scrubbers and whether the systems actually contribute to a cleaner environment or not.
Opponents say that scrubbers just move the sulphur pollution from the air to the ocean, while advocates claim the impact on the ocean is negligible. They also say that the use of low sulphur fuel oil leads to increased CO2 emissions because the fuels need to be refined and that requires energy.
The majority of shipowners will switch to low sulphur fuel to comply with IMO 2020, but the number of shipping companies investing in scrubber technology is increasing because it allows them to keep burning cheap high sulphur fuel oil.
Scrubber advocate Clean Shipping Alliance, or CSA 2020, has yet to respond to the video.
A "scrubber malfunction" on a VLOC. Reports of high corrosion levels in these units. pic.twitter.com/ylzzbAremD
— Sam Eckett (@Sam_Eckett) September 17, 2019
Source: Project Cargo Journal, a sister publication of SWZ|Maritime.