Emission to air

China’s position on open-loop scrubbers

Chinese regulators have updated part of its domestic emission control area (DECA) regulations related to open/looped scrubbers, with effect from 1 January 2019.

The Ministry of Transport in Beijing has recently updated parts of the regulation on open-loop scrubbers used in its emission control areas (ECAs), which now cover most of China’s territorial waters.

The update put a ban on the discharge of wastewater for ships operating scrubbers within inland ECAs, port waters under coastal DECA and the Bohai Bay waters only.

A ban on wastewater generated by open-loop scrubbers within the whole of China’s domestic emission control area is not yet in place. BIMCO will keep its members updated on this matter.

In November 2018, regulators said ships equipped with scrubbers were permitted to carry and use High Sulphur Fuel Oil (HSFO), subject to emissions monitoring, and that scrubber waste and water must be disposed according to relevant regulation. This remains the case.

In October, there was speculation that China was planning a ban on open loop scrubbers. Chinese officials confirmed to BIMCO at the time that there were no immediate plans to impose a ban on the technology, as long as they were in compliance with prevailing regulation.

The updated DECA regulation is designed to supplement the previous regulation, as well as to provide more detailed guidelines for implementation.

BIMCO members are encouraged to pay attention to the following points from the new DECA regulation:

Ships that need to switch to low sulphur fuel must make a fuel switch plan and keep it onboard. The switch timing, ships position, fuel sulphur content - before and after switching – as well as fuel tank data and consumption details must be properly recorded on the ship’s Engine Log. BIMCO reads this as in line with IMO requirements for entering and leaving ECAs in accordance with MARPOL Annex VI.

The discharge and disposal of water pollutants generated by ships using exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) must meet the requirements of relevant regulations. It is prohibited to discharge wastewater generated by open-loop scrubbers within the inland emission control areas, port water areas of coastal emission control areas and Bohai Bay water areas.

It is prohibited to discharge exhaust gas washwater residues into any current DECA water or burn them onboard.

China issues new data collection system with immediate effect 

China has adopted new regulations concerning the reporting of fuel consumption and energy efficiency with effect from 1 January 2019.

New regulation on data collection for energy consumption of ships has been enacted by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, with effect from 1 January 2019.

The principal points of the new regulation are:

  • The regulation applies to all ships of 400GT and above, or powered by engines of 750kW and above with the exception of warships and fishing vessels, regardless of flag.
  • Reports using the format “Data Report Format for the Energy Consumption of Ships” (which is an annex to unofficial translation) are to be submitted to the reporting portal for ships:    
  • Reports for the last completed voyage (i.e. voyage preceding arrival in a Chinese port) must be submitted each time the vessel is leaving a Chinese port.
  • There are exemptions for Chinese flag vessels, ferries and feeders in short sea shipping (chapter 3).
  • For non-Chinese flag vessels, reports must be submitted by the ship agent. The shipowner/operator will most likely provide a report to the agent who will then upload it to the MSA portal using the agent’s account.
  • The report will be transmitted to the MSA portal at the time of issuing the port departure report/port clearance report.

BIMCO will provide members with further details and information as it becomes available.

Below is an informal English translation that has been circulated.

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