A new guide from water monitoring specialist Rivertrace, examines the subject of wastewater discharges and their potential environmental impact. Covering MARPOL regulations, controlling discharges from exhaust gas cleaning systems and exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system bleed off, it also addresses bilge water treatment and tank washing systems.
Better known as scrubbers, exhaust gas cleaning systems allow ships to operate on high-sulphur fuel oil, rather than more expensive low sulphur fuel oil, after the introduction of the global 0.5% cap on fuel sulphur levels, which came into effect in January last year.
Since a lull caused by low crude oil prices and the effects of the COVID pandemic in 2020, scrubber uptake continues to advance, with systems being specified for newbuilds with dual-fuel capability. Analysts believe that larger ships will become the optimal means, for complying with emission abatement regulations.
A debate is taking place however, with some seeking a ban on scrubbers, claiming that they merely shift pollution from air to sea, while others point to research showing their advantages.
A recent CE Delft study found the increase in CO2 footprint from the additional refining of MGO, to be in the range of 10%-15% and potentially as high as 25%, whereas the increased CO2 from EGCS ranges from just 1%-1.5% with sulphur being discharged as harmless.
With new IMO guidelines formulated in February 2020, covering regulations on monitoring oil content in bilge water and washing systems in tankers, they also include a section on the science behind monitoring and the methods employed in modern monitoring systems.
Mike Coomber of Rivertrace 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 confidence knowing their vessels are meeting all regulatory requirements and avoiding the chance of penalties and detentions.”
Download the guide for free here.