The situations on poor quality fuels are about the 0.01% in the industry or even less, in comparison to the global bunker hubs. Although fuel contamination is a rare phenomenon, the risks on a vessel's operation from a lack of segregation of the new fuel, can be very real.
Fuel contamination cases are rare, but the risk of operational problems caused by lack of segregation of the new fuel onboard is very real.
... addresses Mr Wilson.
Mr Wilson also refers to the Houston case, when back in 2018 there was an incident of contaminated fuel that seriously affected fuel plungers, fuel-pump seizures and failures affecting multiple vessels.
As the shipping industry is almost six months away from the implementation of the IMO's sulphur cap, the attention is focused on keeping the blended fuel below the 0.5%. Thus, everyone is paying attention to what is being blended that makes the 0.5% fuel.
Not only are suppliers aiming for 0.5%, but the end product must be fully homogenous and stable at the point of delivery.
The pressure is on producers as they have to be precisely sure of what they're blending so that the product won't fall apart.
In the meantime, it is of a great importance for suppliers to keep a 'good name' on the market. This will be achieved by the product they're sailing.
To ensure the safe and smooth implementation of 0.5% fuels, shipowners should implement a segregation policy and prepare the crew, from the motormen to the engineers in the engine rooms. In addition, the industry should think of segregation and co-mingling strategy for vessels' bunkering operations, in order to help owners and operators understand the implications for the crew onboard.
Mr Wilson concluded
We are still expecting a high number of these new fuels to be compatible. Despite this, segregation is still highly recommended. Follow that policy and you will cut out the majority of your problems on board when handling the fuels.