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Denmark announces plan to ban scrubber water discharge in territorial waters


The Danish government today announced an agreement prohibiting the discharge of scrubber water from ships into Danish territorial waters, effective from July 1, 2025.

“Scrubber water discharges a number of problematic substances which accumulate on our seabed and are absorbed into the ocean’s food chains and end up in the fish we eat,” said Environment Minister Magnus Heunicke.

“The discharge of environmentally hazardous substances comes from many different sources, but scrubber water is a source about which we have a lot of knowledge and data, and therefore I am happy that we are now putting an end to the pollution with scrubber water in Danish territorial waters.”

Under the new regulation, ships will be required to switch to low-sulfur fuel or closed scrubbers with zero emissions by 2025 for open scrubbers and 2029 for closed scrubbers. The residual product from these scrubbers must be delivered to port reception facilities.

The Convention on the Law of the Sea allows a nation to regulate the sea area 12 nautical miles from the coast. Areas beyond are governed by international rules. Parties to the new measure agree that Denmark should also push for similar restrictions in the Baltic and North Seas through regional sea conventions, with the goal of regulation under the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

(Dreamstime photo of Danish parliament in Copenhagen)