REUTERS writes:

Ship owners are postponing or cancelling the installation of “scrubbers” that extract harmful sulphur emissions from their vessels as the coronavirus pandemic tightens finances.

Regulations from United Nations agency the International Maritime Organization (IMO), which took effect in January, were viewed by the oil and shipping industries as one of the first worldwide efforts to enforce environmental change.

The rules aimed to make ships use fuel with a sulphur content of 0.5%, compared with 3.5% previously. Operators had the alternative option to install devices – scrubbers – to strip out the pollutant, which causes lung problems among humans and contributes to acidification of oceans and acid rain, but has not been directly linked to climate change like carbon.

In the run-up to IMO 2020, dozens of traders and ship owners, bet on installing scrubbers hoping to make a profit from buying cheaper high-sulphur fuel as the newly developed 0.5% alternative would be in tight supply.

But with an average cost of $2 million to install just one…

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