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Friday, February 7, 2020 

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) a trade body comprising cruise ship operators, suppliers and partners, as well as travel agents - has publicly endorsed the findings of three separate 2019 studies that showed no adverse environmental effects from scrubber washwater discharge.

The reports show that Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), also known as scrubbers, even when operated in open-loop mode, have minimal impact on water and sediment quality. CLIA was a co-sponsor of the most recent of these reports, conducted by CE Delft, which analysed the long-term impact of washwater discharges from EGCS on port water and sediment. Using empirical data from almost 300 EGCS washwater samples it was found that such discharges have minimal environmental impact on water and sediment quality as compared to new European environmental quality standards entering into force in 2021.

This followed two other studies released in 2019 which were conducted to further understand the impact of EGCS on marine environments. A two-year study conducted by DNV GL found washwater samples from 53 cruise ships equipped with EGCS to be below the limits set by major international water quality standards. Another study, conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, found the impact of scrubbers on water quality and marine life to be negligible.

“EGCS systems are designed to effectively remove 98% of sulphur and well over 50% of particulate matter,” said Brian Salerno, SVP Maritime Policy, CLIA. “These studies are important validators for the industry that these systems, whether operated in open or closed-loop modes, are safe for the environment, in compliance with the new restrictions set forth in IMO 2020 and in keeping with the industry’s commitment to responsible tourism practices.”

CLIA believes that, taken together, the studies further support the use of EGCS technology as a viable means for compliance with the IMO’s 2020 sulphur requirements. Other means of compliance include the use of LNG fuel, and use of compliant fuel such as Marine Gas Oil. The CLIA ocean going cruise fleet includes two ships that are currently using LNG for primary propulsion, with another 25 under construction or on the order books.

Looking further ahead, CLIA members are exploring decarbonisation opportunities, including the use of shoreside power (where clean energy is available), fuel-cell technology, battery and wind power.

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