Scrubber malfunction video goes viral

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.

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.


  1. This water is coming from draining the whole line most probably from the point of breakage. It also seems that the scrubber was inline installed in the existing funnel. This could explain the water above the M/E.
    This in my opinion is a case of bad installation of the water lines plus a bad study on the positioning of these.

  2. No problem for the scrubber guys – this is an added bonus feature of ECGS – water cooling for the engine!

  3. smart system – it cleans the exhaust fumes AND the engine room. You just need to invest in powerful bilge-pumps 😉

  4. still they have to think about alarm systems and protection .they are so hurry to be in accomplince with the new rules ,they obtain all approvals and final results is a bad equipment ,low efficiency ,and with tough impact in safe operations .

  5. Scrubbers are product of commercial greed, trying to bypass the IMO/UN initiative, with very little consideration given to the real situation on board ship.

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