The ecological risks of scrubbers for the marine environment are ignored and at the same time the economic benefits are overestimated, claims the German environmental organisation NABU (Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union).
It was commenting on the results of a new study by the Dutch research institute CE Delft for NABU on the ecological and economic impacts of the use of scrubbers in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. NABU chief executive Leif Miller alleged: “What came as a surprise is that nobody systematically investigated the impact of scrubbers on the marine environment before entitling this technique as a proper ‘solution’ in the European Sulphur Directive.
“At the same time it is clear for everyone that simply discharging harmful substances into the ocean instead of to the air will not result in an improvement for the environment.
“Our report shows that, currently, scrubbers cannot be considered a solution, neither in ecological nor in economical terms.”
NABU claim these findings corresponded to the fact that a majority of renowned ship owners deliberately chose not to install scrubbers on board their container vessels.
“Scrubbers must also be rejected as they allow ship owners to continue to sail on heavy fuel oil instead of investing in cleaner fuels and eco-friendly drives” alleged NABU transport policy officer Daniel Rieger.
“Ship owners who opt for scrubbers invest a lot of money in the wrong technology. A switch to low sulphur fuels like LNG or marine gas oil in combination with particle filters and SCR catalysts is literally the cleaner solution.”