IMO 2020: Main Features of NAT’s Policy on Scrubbers


Nordic American Tankers Ltd communicated its view on the new Sulphur requirements, effective from 2020 in its Press Release October 24, 2017 and in a NAT conference call held February 20, 2019. The Company is steadfast on its decision that scrubbers are not a solution for NAT based upon a conservative financial policy.

“An increased number of ports now prohibit or impose strict requirements on the use of scrubbers, which purify emissions from large ships. The scrubber cleans the exhaust from vessels for Sulphur and emit impure water into the sea, and that is what the ports now will put an end to. Therefore, we still do not see that this new requirement is an issue for NAT,” the company said.

Quoting a Reuters article, NAT stated that the Norwegian authorities may ban the use of scrubbers. “It is indicated in the Reuters message that a worldwide ban may become in effect,” it noted.

Press Release October 24, 2017

In this press release it was stated that discussions about the sulphur requirements for bunker consumption on ships to be in effect from 2020. O”ur 33 (which NAT had at the time) Suezmax tankers are fully compliant to run on 0.10% sulphur content or less. Therefore, going forward we do not see that this new requirement is an issue for NAT.”

Conference call February 20, 2019

The same scrubber considerations were discussed at the NAT investor conference call February 20, 2019.

Reuters: Norway considers a ban on scrubbers

Now, a ban on so-called scrubbers is also being considered in Norway, according to Reuters.

An increasing number of ports around the world prohibits the use of scrubbers, which purify emissions from large ships. The news agency E24 wrote a few days ago how the industry believes that ships without scrubbers could be exposed, as more and more customers demand lower emissions from their shipping partners, it said.

“Now comes the news that several ports consider banning scrubbers. The point of the scrubbers is that they clean the exhaust from the ships for sulphur. The consequence is that the ships pump impure water into the sea – and that is what the ports will now put an end to,” writes Reuters.

“Also in Norway, a ban on the use of scrubbers that emit unclean water into the fjords is now being considered. E24 refers to a non-named source in the Ministry of Climate and Environment,” NAT added.

“It is a question whether all types of scrubbers may be prohibited.”

The International Shipping Organization (IMO) has decided that the limit for sulphur content in fuel used in shipping should be reduced from the current 3.5 per cent to 0.5 per cent.

“We cannot say for certain what the outcome can be expected to be. We feel confident, though, that the view of NAT communicated explicitly Oct 24, 2017, is the right avenue forward. Whether a worldwide ban may become relevant, remains to be seen,” the company added.

Sea News, July 8

Baibhav Mishra
Author: Baibhav Mishra

Associate Editor, Sea News