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IMO SUB COMMITTEE REVISES SCRUBBER GUIDELINES

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 

The IMO's Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR) held its seventh session (PPR7) on 17-21 February 2020; among other items agreed was revised guidelines for the approval and certification of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (scrubbers), which will apply to systems installed on ships six months after adoption by MEPC, i.e. in May 2021 at the earliest.

The major changes to the current guidelines are: a new definition for Polyaromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH) representing the oil discharges of the washwater; a higher frequency for the recording of washwater pH, PAH and turbidity; and a requirement that scrubbers approved under Scheme A require mandatory daily spot checks of the SO2/CO2 emission ratio. Additionally, PPR7 agreed that the guidelines should not specify that sulphur-compliant fuel oil should be used during survey under Scheme B, as a survey under Scheme B only covers the on-board monitoring equipment and the sulphur content of the fuel being used during the survey is irrelevant for testing the functionalities of the monitoring equipment.

PPR7 drafted a scope of work for the evaluation and harmonisation of rules and guidance on the discharge of liquid effluents from EGCS into waters, which will act as a basis for future studies to determine the effect of discharge water on the environment, in order to facilitate a uniform approach by local states.

PPR7 will submit draft MARPOL amendments to the next MEPC meeting regarding a ban on carriage of HFO in Arctic waters from 2014, and it finalised draft guidelines covering the on-board sampling of fuel oil. It will look into the question of increased black carbon emissions from low sulphur fuel oils.

Additionally, PPR7 agreed revised guidance on commissioning testing of ballast water management systems, and is to continue its investigation into bio-fouling in general, looking at invasive species attaching themselves to ships' hulls. It will submit proposals to MEPC regarding controls on cybutryne biocides in anti-fouling systems.

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