January 27, 2020

The MARPOL convention allows for the use of Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems[1] (EGCS, more commonly referred to as scrubbers) as an alternative means of complying with the 2020 low sulphur regulations.

However some jurisdictions have imposed local regulations which restrict or prohibit the discharge of wash water from scrubbers within their waters.

The list below includes countries and ports where such restrictions are currently understood to be in place, based on information received by the Club at the time of publication. However, the list should not be seen as necessarily complete and is for guidance only, in particular noting that local legislation can be subject to change at short notice. Therefore it is important that Members monitor the current situation closely and always contact their local agent/representative prior to arrival. This should include seeking confirmation of the latest situation regarding any applicable requirements relating to the operation of scrubbers and any permission required from the relevant local authorities for their use.

Please feel free to contact the Britannia Loss Prevention department if further assistance or clarification is needed. Members are also welcome to notify us should they experience any restrictions or bans in a port or country not currently on the list and further information on emission standards is available in focus.

[1] Subject to approval by the Administration of its use in accordance with Regulation 4 of MARPOL Annex VI while taking into account the 2015 Guidelines for EGCS (IMO Resolution MEPC.259 (68)).

Australia Territorial Waters of Australia Restricted All ships using a scrubber have to notify AMSA prior to first arrival at an Australian port after 1 January 2020 and provide required information as per Marine Notice 05/2019.
Bahrain Within port limits of Bahrain including the anchorage area. Restricted The requirements are set out in Marine Notice PMA 03 2019. This confirms that wash water from open loop scrubbers is not permitted in Bahraini territorial waters and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) unless it can be proved that the discharge complied with MEPC.259(68) and there is no negative impact on marine ecosystems.
Belgium All ports and inland waters Yes The European Commission’s (EC) 2016 Note on discharge of scrubber wash water prohibits the discharge in ports and inland waters but is allowed in coastal and open seawaters when at least 3nm off the coast and if the discharge does not imperil the objectives of the EC Water Framework Directive (WFD), 2000/60/EC.
Bermuda Territorial waters of Bermuda Yes The requirements are set out in the document Environmental Policy for Ships, which confirms that open loop scrubbers are prohibited in Bermuda’s waters, while prior approval needs to be sought from the Environmental Authority to use a closed loop scrubber.
Brazil Certain bulk terminals Yes Bulk terminals/ports operated by Vale S.A. do not allow discharge of wash water within their waters as per Statement of 20 Dec 2019. It is “recommended” that wash water is not discharged once entering into waters 24 nm from the coast line.
China All Inland river and coastal ECA ports including the Bohai Rim Sea Yes Our correspondent has issued the following circular as guidance Huatai PNI1907 confirming further details of the restricted areas. Further details of the China MSA guidelines on Air Pollution Emissions are provided in Huatai PNI2001, which includes details of the procedure which may be adopted by the Maritime Authorities for inspecting scrubbers.
Egypt Suez canal waters

Egyptian territorial waters and all Egyptian ports, including Alexandria and Damietta

Yes SCA Circular No 8/2019 and subsequent Clarification circular issued confirm that no waste water discharges are permitted during canal transits.

In addition, our correspondent has reported that the use of all types of scrubber (open / closed / hybrid) is prohibited in Egyptian territorial waters and all Egyptian ports, including Alexandria and Damietta, until Egypt ratifies Annex VI of MARPOL.

Estonia All ports Restricted Estonian Maritime Administration Circular No.4 states detailed requirements for waste water discharge, including the need for prior port authorization if wash water is to be discharged in port areas.
Finland Port of Porvoo (Neste Refinery Terminal) Yes It has been reported by our correspondent that the discharge of wash water is prohibited at the Neste Refinery, but no formal notice is available or of other similar port prohibitions.
France Bordeaux, Port Jérôme-sur-Seine, River Seine and Le Havre Restricted (but effectively prohibited, see Additional Information) It has been reported by our correspondent that discharge of wash water is effectively prohibited inside the listed ports as the procedure to obtain a potential authorization would make it unrealistic to obtain witching the time the vessel is in port; however, no formal notice is available.
Germany Inland waterways intended for general traffic, including  the Rhine, except for the stretch upstream of Rheinfelden.

This includes ports along these waterways, for example on the Wesser, Rhine, Elbe and Kiel Canal.

Yes Discharge is not allowed according to the Convention on the Collection, Deposit and Reception of Waste Generated during Navigation on the Rhine and Other Inland Waterways CDNI Convention.
Gibraltar Waters of Gibraltar Yes Our correspondent has reported that:

“Closed loop scrubbers are permitted in Gibraltar waters, Hybrid scrubbers operating in closed loop mode are also permitted, and open loop scrubbers are temporarily not permitted as a precautionary measure until the Gibraltar Government arrives at a definitive policy decision with regards to (solely) open loop scrubbers”

Hong Kong Hong Kong Waters Restricted No stated ban on the discharge of waste water. However, use of scrubbers of any kind or other equivalent means in order to comply with the 2020 low sulphur requirements requires an exemption as detailed in the Air Pollution Control (Fuel for Vessels) Regulation, L.N. 135 of 2018.
Ireland Ports of Dublin, Waterford and Cork Yes Discharge of waste water is prohibited as per the following notices:

Dublin Port NtM no. 37 of 2018
Port of Waterford Marine Notice of 2 January 2019
Port of Cork NtM no. 15 of 2018

Latvia Territorial and port waters of Latvia Yes It has been reported by our correspondent that the general position is that the discharge of wash water is not allowed in territorial and port waters of Latvia, including Riga, Ventspils and Liepaja.
Lithuania All ports Yes According to the EC’s 2016 note on discharge of scrubber wash water, discharges of waste water are not allowed in Port Water Areas, although the same document notes that this is under discussion.
Malaysia Territorial waters of Malaysia (but see Additional Information re Malacca Strait transits) Yes Marine Department Malaysia Circular MSN 07/2019.confirms the discharge of open loop scrubbers is prohibited 12 nm from the nearest land. However, ships transiting the Malacca Strait and not bound for any Malaysian port are excluded from this ban, as per MSN 08/2019
Norway The recognised world heritage fjords consisting of the Geirangerfjord and Nærøyfjord areas Yes As per Section 14b of the Norwegian Maritime Authority’s Regulations of 30 May 2012 No. 488 on environmental safety for ships and mobile offshore units, the use of open loop scrubbers is not permitted in the Norwegian world heritage fjords.
Pakistan Karachi Yes The Government of Pakistan’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs (Ports & Shipping Wing) Circular No. 001/2020 confirms that the discharge of wash-water from open-loop scrubbers is prohibited in port (Karachi). While in port, vessels fitted with hybrid scrubbers should switch to the closed-loop mode of operations. Vessels fitted with open-loop scrubbers need to switch over to compliant fuel instead. It is advised that the switch over is carried out well in advance of the ship’s arrival in port waters.
Panama Panama Canal waters Yes Panama Canal Authority (ACP) NT Notice to Shipping No. N1 2020 Section 28 confirms that discharge of open loop scrubber waste water is not permitted, but the use of closed loop systems is permitted.
Qatar Territorial waters of Qatar Yes It has been reported by Qatar Petroleum that in accordance with Qatar Environmental Laws, waste water discharges from scrubbers containing “any chemicals or metals from ships” are strictly prohibited in Qatari waters; however, no formal notice is available.
Singapore Port of Singapore (but see Additional Information re ships transiting the TSS) Yes Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) Port Marine Circular No. 19 of 2019 confirms that the discharge of wash water from scrubbers operating in open-loop mode is prohibited within the Singapore port limit from 1 January 2020. This does not apply to ships transiting the Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS) without calling into the Port of Singapore.

Further information can be found in the MPA guidance, including details of the expected switch over arrangements if a ship is fitted with a hybrid or open loop system.

Sweden Ports of Brofjorden, Gävle, Norrköping, Umeå, Sundsvall, Skellefteå, Stockholm


Yes It has been reported by our correspondent that the discharge of wash water is not allowed in the listed ports, but no formal notice is available.
UAE Fujairah Yes The Port of Fujairah’s Notice to Mariners No. 252 confirms that the use of open loop scrubbers is prohibited in port waters. Our correspondent has reported not having received notification of any such ban being in place in other ports in the UAE
USA US waters, subject to the 2013 Vessel General Permit regulations (within 3 nm of US shores) Restricted The 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) section 2.2.26 covers the discharge limits for scrubber wash water and includes some variations compared to the IMO MEPC 259(68) guidelines. Differences include that the pH of the discharged wash water is to be no less than 6.0, which is to be measured at the ship’s overboard discharge.

A further guidance document has been published by the USCG on 13/01/20 entitled Implementation of Compliance/Enforcement Policy for MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 14, including IMO 2020 Sulfur Cap.

USA State of California Restricted California – California Air Resource Board (CARB) regulations prohibits the use of scrubbers. However, the use of alternative means of compliance such as scrubbers may be allowed if a Temporary Experimental or Research Exemption has been given, as per CARB MN 2017-1. A reminder of the requirements was issued on 21/01/20 at CARB MN 2020-1.
USA State of Connecticut Yes Connecticut – Section 6.5.9 of the 2013 Vessel General Permit (VGP) confirms that discharge of wash water into Connecticut waters from any vessel covered under the VGP or small Vessel General Permit (sVGP) is prohibited.
USA State of Hawaii Restricted Hawaii – Section 6.7 of the 2013 VGP states that the conditional section 401 WQC (Water Quality Certification) effectively allows for discharge of wash water in Hawaii, subject to compliance with certain terms stipulated in the same section of the 2013 VGP.


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