Press Release | January 23, 2020

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Shares Findings of Recent Studies Confirming Limited Impact of Scrubber Technology on Marine Environments (Global)

Three independent analyses released in 2019 found minimal impact of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) operated in open-loop mode, including on water and sediment quality and marine life.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (January 23, 2020) – Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice for the global cruise industry, highlighted today the findings of three independent reports released in 2019 that show Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS), also known as scrubbers, when operated in open-loop mode, have minimal impact on water and sediment quality.

The most recent report, conducted by CE Delft and co-sponsored by CLIA, analyzed the long-term impact of washwater discharges from EGCS on port water and sediment. Using empirical data from almost 300 EGCS washwater samples—the most extensive dataset of this kind to date—it was found that such discharges have minimal environmental impact on water and sediment quality as compared to new European environmental quality standards entering into force in 2021.

The CE Delft report and its findings follow two additional studies released in 2019 which were conducted to further understand the impact of EGCS on marine environments. This includes a two-year study conducted by DNV GL, which found washwater samples from 53 cruise ships equipped with EGCS to be below the limits set by major international water quality standards. Another recent study, conducted by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, found the impact of scrubbers on water quality and marine life to be negligible.

“EGCS systems are designed to effectively remove 98% of sulfur and well over 50% of particulate matter,” said Brian Salerno SVP of Maritime Policy, CLIA. “These studies are important validators for the industry that these systems, whether operated in open or closed-loop modes, are safe for the environment, in compliance with the new restrictions set forth in IMO 2020 and in keeping with the industry’s commitment to responsible tourism practices.”

Taken together, the studies further support the use of EGCS technology as a viable means for compliance with the IMO’s 2020 sulfur requirements, which went into effect 1 January 2020 and mandate that emissions from maritime vessels not exceed 0.5% sulfur content, compared to 3.5% previously.

Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems process emissions from ships to almost completely remove sulfur content and significantly reduce particulate matter found in exhaust. Additional means of compliance with IMO’s 2020 regulations include the use of LNG fuel, which has virtually zero sulfur emissions, and use of compliant fuel such as Marine Gas Oil. The CLIA ocean going cruise fleet includes two ships that are currently using LNG for primary propulsion, with another 25 under construction or on the order books.

All three reports are available at the following:

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