SCRUBBER retrofits took more than 30 container ships out of service in July, according to research company Alphaliner. This represents 350,000 TEU of capacity laid up to complete the procedure.

Scrubbers will allow the ships to continue burning cheaper, high-sulphur fuel oil after new IMO rules come into effect. Ships without scrubbers will only be able to use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5% starting on 1 January 2020.

The average time vessels are out of service for retrofitting is 52 days, but this average includes time that ships that also underwent other repairs.

Alphaliner reports that since June 2018, 39 container ships had competed retrofits, with 10 already retrofitted in earlier years. Some 550 additional ships are expected to be taken out of service for retrofitting in the lead up to the rule’s implementation.

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On the back of the scrubber retrofits, the total idle fleet has risen sharply to 486,778 TEU capacity from 336,241 TEU on month hence.

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the Ministry of Transport announced it would not enforce the IMO 2020 sulphur cap on its domestic fleet.

Indonesia will allow Indonesian-flagged vessels operating in Indonesian waters to burn bunkers with a maximum sulphur content of 3.5%, until the supply of such fuel runs out. The ministry did not indicate when production of the high-sulphur fuel would stop.

The archipelagic state will still comply with the IMO 2020 rule, but the ministry said it needed “time to adjust”.

Foreign-flagged vessels operating in Indonesian waters will be required to comply with the IMO 2020 rules.

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