Singapore’s Maritime Port Authority (MPA) is set to ban the discharge of wash water from open-loop exhaust gas cleaning scrubbers into port waters.

The ban is expected to be effective from 1 January 2020 when International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) upcoming regulation on the 0.5% sulphur cap is scheduled to come into force.

The regulation requires ships to reduce the presence of sulfur content in their fuel to below 0.5% from 2020, compared with the current level of 3.5%.

Speaking at the Singapore Registry of Ships (SRS) Forum 2018, MPA chief executive Andrew Tan said: “To protect the marine environment and ensure that the port waters are clean, the discharge of wash water from open-loop exhaust gas scrubbers in Singapore port waters will be prohibited.

“Ships fitted with open-loop scrubbers calling at Singapore will be required to use compliant fuel. Ships fitted with hybrid scrubbers will be required to switch to the closed-loop mode of operation.”

Tan also noted that the country would provide reception facilities for the collection of residues generated from the operation of scrubbers.

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“The booklets provide detailed guidance and best practices for ships to comply with the IMO 2020 regulations.”

Tan further added: “To help prepare the industry for the IMO 2020 Fuel Oil Sulphur Limit, we have developed a comprehensive action plan.

“Working together with the Singapore Shipping Association (SSA), we have published two technical guidance booklets, one for Singapore-registered ships and another one for ships calling at the Port of Singapore.

“The booklets provide detailed guidance and best practices for ships to comply with the IMO 2020 regulations, as well as the requirements and procedures that ships have to abide by when calling at Singapore.”

MPA is expected to unveil additional guidance by the second quarter of next year to provide details of Singapore’s readiness for the IMO 2020 regulations.