July 24, 2019 / 9:40 AM / a month ago

China to expand discharge ban on open-loop exhaust scrubbers -draft

BEIJING, July 24 (Reuters) - China will extend a ban on discharging the waste water from open-loop scrubbers to more coastal regions starting in 2020, the country’s maritime authority said in a draft plan.

An open-loop scrubber is a device that removes sulphur from the exhaust that comes through a ship’s smokestack but the water used in the removal process, known as wash water, is then discharged from the vessel. Closed-loop systems keep most of the wash water onboard the ship.

The ban follows a restriction effective in Jan 2019 on discharges from open-loop scrubbers in key emission control regions, including the main channel of the Yangtze River, the Xijiang River, the Bohai sea region and ports along the coastline.

The Maritime Safety Administration (MSA) said in the draft dated July 22 that it plans to extend the ban to all coastal regions within 12 nautical miles (22.22 km) from the baseline of China’s territorial sea and regions near the southern island province of Hainan.

The new regulation will come into effect from Jan. 1, 2020, when a 0.5% sulphur content cap in shipping fuel set by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) kicks in.

“The restriction is in line with China’s war against pollution and is part of obligations of the international convention China concluded,” the MSA said.

Banning open-loop scrubbers means shippers will have to switch to a closed-loop scrubbers system or to use low-sulphur bunker fuels.

The MSA also plans to ban ships using marine fuels with a sulphur content of more than 0.5% from entering Chinese jurisdiction of sea regions from 2020, and ships using fuel with a sulphur content of more than 0.1% will be banned from entering the Yangtze and Xijiang river regions from 2022.

It will also ban vessels carrying fuel oil with a sulphur content of more than 0.5% from entering Chinese water from March 1, 2020.

The draft will be open for public feedback until Aug. 22.

Reporting by Muyu Xu and Shivani Singh; editing by Christian Schmollinger

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