Record fine for open-loop scrubber ban violation in Hamburg port

Port of Hamburg aerial view. Credit: Port of Hamburg

The authorities in the Port of Hamburg have imposed a record fine to a tanker that breached its open-loop scrubber ban.

The Marshall Islands-flagged vessel received a EUR50,000 (USD55,000) fine on behalf of the Department of the Environment and Energy. The fine was imposed following a routine check carried out by the local water police at the end of November 2019 and concluded that there was an environmental breach.

Officers found that the tanker had an open-loop scrubber installed on board. Currently, under the relevant CDNI convention, the discharge of wash water from such a scrubber into the river Elbe and into the Port of Hamburg is banned.

It was found that the vessel had discharged 2,300 tonnes of wash water in the port at the time of the inspection. The 43-year-old chief officer, who is a Philippine national, is being held responsible for the incident.

Vessels with open-loop scrubbers on board are required to switch to low-sulphur fuel in these waters, although the disposal of closed-loop wash water and solid scrubber waste is possible for a fee at the port reception facilities in Hamburg.