Safe Bulkers announced that it has agreed with Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry Co. Ltd., (Cosco), a detailed schedule within 2019 for the installation of Alfa Laval PureSOx scrubbers in about half of the Company’s fleet mainly in medium size vessels, Kamsarmax to Post-Panamax class.
More specifically the Company will install scrubbers in five Kamsarmax class vessels, in thirteen Post-Panamax class vessels and in the recently acquired Cape-size class vessel while it maintains an option for an additional scrubber.
All preparatory engineering works are in progress targeting to initiate the first installation in second quarter of 2019 and the last installation in the fourth quarter of 2019, opting for having about half of Company’s fleet operated with Heavy Fuel Oil and the other half, consisting mainly of smaller more fuel efficient vessels, with compliant low sulfur fuels.
Minimization of down time is expected to be achieved through: i) prefabrication of piping and foundation, ii) selection of shipyard with track record in the specific system, iii) installation in group of sister vessels which will permit shorter times after the lead vessel and iv) installation for ten vessels, during their scheduled dry-docking in 2019 which is part of their special survey. Contractually, the expected down time for scrubber installation is 32 days for the first vessel and 30 days for the remaining vessels, while the down time during a scheduled dry docking as part of special survey is about 15 to 20 days. During the same period ERMA First Ballast Water Treatment System (BWTS) will also be installed, achieving full compliance with IMO regulation Marpol Annex VI, as well as with Ballast Water Management Convention and EPA regulation for Ballast Water Treatment Systems.
The scrubber and the related expenditure for prefabrication and installation is expected to be in aggregate of about $2.0 million per medium size vessel.
This investment will be financed from cash on hand and additional debt.
Cosco is the biggest group in China in terms of annual turnover for ship repair projects, comprised of five ship repair groups including Guangdong, Shanghai, Nantong, Zhousan and Dalian and has extensive experience in ballast water treatment system and scrubbers installation projects.
Alfa Laval is a leading global provider of first-rate products mainly in energy, environment, marine and food.
Erma First BWTS is a United States Coast Guard approved full flow electrolysis system, which has already been successfully installed in four of our vessels, while four more installations are expected to be concluded during scheduled dry dockings this year.
Loukas Barmparis, President of the Company commented: “The retrofit of scrubbers is a demanding job involving the selection of reliable and durable equipment from manufacturer with extensive track record, detailed engineering studies and high quality of installation which should lead to reliable operations for years to come. Our technical department has worked extensively in all those areas in order to make possible the timely delivery at the required standards, within the budgeted costs for nineteen vessels with scrubbers within 2019, minimizing the down time. We are happy to cooperate with Cosco and Alfa Laval for this project and we believe that we will enjoy a short pay-back period for this investment based on price differential between HFO and compliant fuels after January 1st, 2020”.