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            august 22, 2019

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CSA scrubber lobby and 10 NGO eco lobbies do battle before IMO


Scrubber lobby Clean Shipping Alliance 2020 (CSA) has denounced a protest letter signed by 10 environmental lobbies and addressed to the UN's International Maritime Organisation (IMO), condemning the use of exhaust gas cleaning systems (EGCS) or scrubbers, as harmful to the environment, according to Shipping Gazette.
The clash arises from the January 1 mandate to reduce sulphur emissions from ships from today's allowable 3.5 per cent down to a virtual ban at of 0.5 per cent. There are three responses: The use of greatly refined blends that put engines at risk, sulphur free, but scarce LNG, and scrubbers that remove pollutants from the exhaust from basic bunker fuel.
"CSA 2020 is dismayed at media reports from activist groups that are making unsupported statements regarding exhaust gas cleaning systems," said CSA executive director Ian Adams.
"We find it difficult to fathom the motives behind these statements. There is a clear record of scientific studies that demonstrate the many benefits of using EGCS to reduce emissions while having negligible impact on the ocean environment," he said.
"These statements are counter-productive and do little to help efforts to prevent emissions of sulphur, black carbon and particulate matter having a detrimental impact on the environment and on human health," Mr Adams said.
The 10 NGOs call for an immediate moratorium on the shipping industry's use scrubbers because of a case against Carnival Corp's first year of probation following its US$40 million criminal pollution settlement in 2017.
The eco lobby's letter said the equipment malfunctions "cast significant doubt on the ability of EGCS technology to meet the required equivalency standard' under MARPOL [Marine Pollution] Annex VI, Regulation 4".
"As Carnival Corporation's criminal debacle has shown, EGCS are not the answer to delivering air pollution reductions for the shipping sector," said Stand.earth "senior campaigner" Kendra Ulrich.
"We are calling on the IMO to take the lead on avoiding the inevitable failures and resulting environmental and health impacts of scrubbers by putting in place a moratorium while the IMO reviews the technology's marine and air pollution impacts," she said.
Ms Ulrich said it would be "relatively easy to implement because a truly reliable compliance mechanism already exists: burning cleaner, low-sulphur fuel".
Other NGO signatories include Pacific Environment, Transport & Environment, Seas at Risk, Ecodes, Circumpolar Conservation Union, NABU, Friends of the Earth US, Environmental Investigation Agency and WWF Canada.
Said CSA 2020: "Comments made by Stand.earth and others are based on nothing more than sensationalist hyperbole intended for the media, without any underlying facts or evidence whatsoever.'
CSA 2020 has 39 members representing more than 3,000 vessels in commercial and cruise service.
Said a Carnival Corp spokesman: "These are ridiculous and outlandish assertions, especially since this breakthrough technology is proven to be environmentally friendly and was developed in close coordination with the appropriate regulatory bodies such as the US Environmental Protection Agency and the IMO, and independently verified by class societies and other scientific studies."

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