‘Loose speculation’ obscuring benefits of scrubbers

Ian Adams, formerly the head of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA), has been tapped by an influential pro-scrubber body to become the group’s executive director. Adams has wasted little time to lambast much of the negative press surrounding the deployment of exhaust gas cleaning systems, slamming mounting criticism of open-loop scrubbers as “loose speculation”.

The Clean Shipping Alliance (CSA) 2020 was formed last September and features big shipping names such as Carnival, Oldendorff, Cargill, and Trafigura. It has contracted Maritime AMC (MAMCL), a UK-based association management company, to provide secretariat services, and appointed Ian Adams as its executive director. Adams is a serial shipping association acolyte, helping found the Association of Bulk Terminal Operators in 2016, and prior to that his 10 years at IBIA.

On being appointed yesterday, Adams said: “There has been a lot of loose speculation about the environmental benefits of these systems; conjecture that obscures the fact that exhaust gas cleaning systems have a very positive net environmental impact on the maritime environment. We are deeply concerned that decisions are being made without the benefit of existing academic studies and research or any knowledge of the performance of these systems.”

In recent months Singapore has banned open-loop scrubbers and China has followed suit across much of its coastline with other countries also looking at the technology with a view to a ban.

“Exhaust gas cleaning systems can have a profoundly positive impact on the port and ocean environment, in terms of improving shipping’s environmental footprint and reducing the health impact from airborne sources. After all, this is what the 2020 regulation aims to do. I am sure the early installers of scrubber technologies will at some point be considered visionary,” Adams insisted yesterday.

CSA 2020 will hold its first general assembly next month where its leadership team and officers will be formally elected. The assembly will take place alongside the first CSA 2020 conference on marine emissions abatement.

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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