You may have noticed some white emissions coming from the MSC Astrid vessel that was in port on Friday 28 February. These emissions are steam, or water vapour, that is produced by the vessel’s Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), commonly known as scrubbers.
Scrubber systems are being used by more ships to help reduce their emissions and impact on the environment.
What are scrubbers?
Scrubber systems are designed to treat and remove pollutants from a ship engine’s gas exhausts before they are released into the atmosphere. These systems add water to a ship’s exhaust gases and “scrub” off the harmful pollutants. This process keeps the pollutants inside the ship and lets the excess boiled water that is produced be released as steam, which is visible as a white mist.
Why do ships use scrubber systems?
New Zealand is in the process of signing on to an international treaty named MARPOL Annex VI that regulates and reduces greenhouse gas emissions from ships. From January 1 2020, new global regulations have come into effect that limit emissions from ships. These tighter limits will help to improve air quality and protect the environment.
Ships visiting Napier Port will need to adhere to the new emission limits. Many ships are using scrubber technology to meet the requirements of the new treaty regulations. Many ships are also using cleaner fuels to lower their emissions, while others are implementing a mixed solution of scrubbers and cleaner fuels. The good news is that ship emissions are becoming cleaner in general.
The cruise industry already has a number of ships fitted with scrubbers and some of these are regular visitors to Napier Port. Going forward we can also expect to see more container and bulk ships that are fitted with scrubbing systems visit the port.