Malaysia bans open-loop scrubbers

Malaysia has become the latest maritime nation to ban the use of open-loop scrubbers. Maritime Department of Malaysia declared that ships, which are using open-loop scrubbers for exhaust gas cleaners, are now prohibited in Malaysian waters. Malaysia Maritime Department web page stated that ships calling at the Malaysian ports are advised to change over to compliant bunker (VLSFO) or change over to close-loop system before entering Malaysian waters and ports. Besides Malaysia, Singapore and Fujairah (UAE) have already banned open-loop scrubbers from their waters. On the other hand, European Union wants to discuss the usage of open-loop scrubbers. In a similar move, China is set to extend a ban on discharges from open-loop scrubbers to more coastal regions. According to International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 2020 regulations, which will be effective on 1 January 2020, ships either must be installed scrubbers or use low sulphur bunkers for low emissions. Closed-loop scrubbers keep most of the water used to weed out sulphur from regular bunkers. On the other hand, open-loop scrubbers pump cleaning water overboard. Starting from 1 January 2020, Malaysian-flagged ships which are forced to use non-compliant bunkers will need to secure approval from Malaysia Maritime Department. Malaysian-flagged ships which are forced to use non-compliant bunkers must inform Malaysian port authorities where the non-compliant fuel was purchased and itinerary.