According to a study commissioned by WWF-Canda, about 35 million tonnes of washwater waste was dumped in the BC coast by 30 ships that had scrubbers in 2017.
Hazardous sulphur oxides are eliminated by the scrubbers from exhaust gases of heavy fuel oil which is used in the engines of marine containers. As a result, washwater is dumped in the ocean.
These discharges are very harmful and thus, kills whales and other species. 90 per cent of this discharge was caused by cruise ships.
According to the study, 50 per cent of the ships used open loop scrubbers that dispose the washwater immediately. This washwater has carcinogens and heavy metals. Hybrid systens were used by the remaining ships which enables the operators of the ship to control when the washwater is discharged by temporarily storing it.
The report also says that the discharge by these scrubbers can increase by about 35 per cent in 2020 because the number of ships that will use scrubbers will increase in order to comply with the new regulations of IMO. Two thrid of this increase will be led by cruise ships.
WWF-Canada is with the idea of removing the use of open-loop scrubbers and/or discharge from hybrid scrubbers in Canadian waters, particularly in the areas that are marine protected and critical habitats. The change from HFO to the fuels that do not need scrubbers will remove the harm caused and will help in zero emission shipping by 2050.
Andrew Dumbrille, senior specialist of sustainable shipping with WWF-Canada, says, “Canada has a responsibility to safeguard our oceans. Washwater discharges from open-loop scrubbers pollute habitat and negatively affect wildlife, and an HFO spill would be devastating to coastal communities.”
Hussein Alidina, lead specialist of oceans with WWF-Canada, says, “Southern resident killer whales in BC are under an enormous amount of stress, and it is concerning that washwater effluents may be further degrading their critical habitat. Pollution and contamination from all sources, including shipping, need to be reduced for long-term recovery of this population to be possible.”