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Position on ships’ exhaust gas scrubber discharge in the port of Wellington – February 11 2020

CentrePort and the Greater Wellington Regional Council, as guardians of the port of Wellington, wish to work with the port’s customers in the new environment of exhaust cleaning systems to ensure our harbour is maintained in a pristine and healthy condition.

CentrePort and the Greater Wellington Regional Council are jointly seeking further guidance from National Regulatory Authorities in relation to the discharge of ship’s exhaust scrubber washwater into our harbour. Our current understanding is that that there are no regulations specifically prohibiting their use in NZ ports and harbours; ship’s systems and washwater discharges must meet IMO criteria. In addition, the discharge from scrubber systems should not have any of the following effects on the receiving waters:

  1. The production of any conspicuous oil or grease films, scums or foams, or floatable or suspended materials:
  2. Any conspicuous change of colour or visual clarity:
  • Any emission of objectionable odour:
  1. Any significant adverse effects on aquatic life

Discharges in contravention of the above may be investigated and necessary enforcement actions taken under the provisions of the Resource Management Act 1991 (or associated pollution regulations).  Vessels may be required to shut down scrubber systems until it can be proven that the system is operating to the standards required.

It is however our recommendation that vessels switch to a low sulphur fuel alternative or use any available closed loop EGCS system when within the port of Wellington.

Our position on the status of these discharges may change pending the receipt of further information, regulatory guidance or national policy.