MARSHALL Islands-registered shipping company Star Bulk says it has secured a US$310m loan with US$70m to finance the procurement and retrofitting of scrubbers for up to about 50 vessels in its fleet.
The $70m green loan tranche has been certified by DNV GL Business Assurance Services and is said to be to be aligned with so-called green loan principles.
Scrubbers, which help decrease emissions (including sulphur) as fuels are burned, are aimed at allowing ships to continue using high-sulphur fuel oil after new IMO regulations that take effect in 2020.
The move from Star Bulk is one of the latest examples of shipping companies taking action towards compliance.
“The completion of this financing is an important milestone for Star Bulk and its lending partners, who are pioneering sustainable green loans for dry bulk shipping investments, which aim to promote maritime emission reductions and compliance with the 2020 IMO regulations,” Star Bulk said in an online statement.
Star Bulk transports major bulk cargo, including iron ore, coal and grain, and minor bulk cargo, including bauxite, fertilisers and steel products.
According to the IMO, limiting sulphur oxide (SOx) emissions from ships will have “a very positive impact on human health”.
“Simply put, limiting sulphur oxides emissions from ships reduces air pollution and results in a cleaner environment,” the IMO stated.
“Reducing SOx also reduces particulate matter, tiny harmful particles which form when fuel is burnt.
“A study on the human health impacts of SOx emissions from ships, submitted to IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in 2016 by Finland, estimated that by not reducing the SOx limit for ships from 2020, the air pollution from ships would contribute to more than 570,000 additional premature deaths worldwide between 2020-2025.”
According to the IMO, a reduction in the limit for sulphur in fuel oil used on board ships will have “tangible health benefits, particularly for populations living close to ports and major shipping routes”.