European ports back call for harmonised action on scrubber discharges

European ports back call for harmonised action on scrubber discharges

The European Sea Ports Organisation (EPSO) has called for urgent scientific research into the impact of liquid discharges from scrubbers.

The International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC), which is commencing next week in London, will discuss an EU proposal on exhaust gas cleaning systems. The proposal, which has been submitted by the EU 28 member states and the European Commission, aims to start the discussion at an international level on the discharges from scrubbers into the water, especially in sensitive areas such as ports.

To protect the water quality and to respect the EU standards imposed by the Water Framework Directive, some EU member states have taken initiatives to limit liquid discharges from scrubbers in port areas.

EPSO stated in a release yesterday it supports the European plea for “prompt and harmonized action on the basis of scientific evidence” available with regard to the impact of liquid discharges from scrubbers on water quality.

“Water quality is a great priority for European ports being continuously in the annual top 10 of European ports’ environmental priorities. The scrubber discharges into the water is currently triggering different approaches and measures in the EU member states. It is important to start the discussion at international level on the possible impact of these discharges as soon as possible in an open and transparent way, using the evidence available. This must lead to a more coordinated global approach to the issue, if possible. With the upcoming IMO 2020 sulphur cap, the issue is becoming a priority,” said ESPO’s secretary general, Isabelle Ryckbost.

Splash will be bringing readers regular updates from MEPC in London next week.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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