Video evidence circulating among the shipbroking community yesterday has spooked the world’s scrubber advocates.
The 50-second clip (see below) shows hundreds of gallons of water pouring into the engine room of an unspecified vessel.
The huge volume of water falling onto the nine-cylinder engine could only have come from a scrubber tower, a number of ship design experts have told Splash.
As with any new ship technology, operators are experiencing a number of unforeseen teething issues with exhaust gas cleaning systems, not least thanks to corrosion.
At last year’s Maritime CEO Forum in Hong Kong, Bjørn Højgaard, CEO of shipmanagement giant Anglo-Eastern, warned that scrubbers are sensitive pieces of equipment sitting in the hostile, hot and acidy environment of a ship’s funnel.
“There are going to be plenty more maintenance issues than people expect,” Højgaard told the exclusive shipowner gathering. He went on to recount how one car carrier owner he knows had budgeted $10,000 a year in scrubber maintenance per ship. In the first year alone that owner had to spend $100,000 in scrubber maintenance per ship.
These teething problems were cited earlier this month by Euronav, helping explain the Belgian tanker giant’s change of heart on buying into the controversial technology. A massive opponent of scrubbers under previous management, Euronav revealed that it might buy scrubbers next year, giving it “second mover advantage” in learning the flaws of the first round of installations.