In news: There has been a huge increase in the use of open-loop scrubbers in ships in just last one year, even as a debate about their viability in mitigating sulphur emissions from ships has also escalated.


IMO (International Maritime Organization)

  • It is a specialized agency of the United Nations, IMO is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping
  • Its main role is to create a regulatory framework for the shipping industry that is fair and effective, universally adopted and universally implemented.
  • The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973 as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (MARPOL) is one of the most important international marine environmental conventions.
    •  It was developed by the International Maritime Organization with an objective to minimize pollution of the oceans and seas, including dumping, oil and air pollution.
  • Annex VI in 2008: The member states of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted international standards for marine diesel engines and their fuels that applied globally. 
  • These global and geographic standards have the potential to significantly reduce air pollution from ships, and provide important benefits to our national air quality.

Working of IMO

  1. The IMO, like any other UN agency, is primarily a secretariat.
  2. It facilitates decision-making processes on all maritime matters through meetings of member states.
  3. The binding instruments are brought in through the conventions.
  1. These are signed by Member states sign for compliance cum amendments to the same and related codes.

About scrubber in ships 

  • Scrubbers or Exhaust Gas Cleaning Systems (EGCS) are used to remove particulate matter and harmful components, such as sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) from the exhaust gasses generated as a result of combustion processes in marine engines, to implement pollution control.
  • The two types of scrubbers are being used widely;
  • Closed-loop scrubbers retain the sulphur emissions for safer disposal at port.
  • Open-loop scrubbers release pollutants back into the sea after turning the sulphur dioxide into sulphuric acid.