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News: Suez Canal Authority clarifies position on open-loop scrubbers

17 January 2020

Egypt has not yet ratified MARPOL Annex VI, which means that the new sulphur limits adopted by the IMO are not currently being enforced in Egyptian waters.  However, the position with regards to the use of open-loop scrubbers has until recently been unclear. The Suez Canal Authority (SCA) in its circular No. 08/2019 made the following statements (emphasis added):

Suez Canal Authority puts no conditions or restrictions on fuel oil or Open-loop exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems until ratification of MARPOL Annex VI by Arab Republic of Egypt.

And: 

This is also in consistence with the obligation that wash water resulting from exhaust gas cleaning systems shall not be discharged into water during vessels transit of Suez Canal.

These two comments about the use of open-loop systems in Egyptian waters have been seen as slightly ambiguous and somewhat contradictory. As a result, the SCA has now issued a follow-up note to clarify its position:

cleaning water from (exhaust gas) is forbidden to discharge to Suez Canal during transition of ships at any circumstances. 

It is now clear that vessels should turn off their open loop scrubbers when transiting the Suez Canal in order to avoid any environmental fines.  We understand that the Egyptian Government is currently in the process of ratifying MARPOL Annex VI although it is unclear when exactly this will happen. The club will continue to monitor this situation for any further developments.
 
The SCA circular is available on its website. ​

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