As the issues with contaminated bunker supplies in the Houston area seem to acquire a global dimension, the Standard P&I Club published loss prevention advice informing that this issue is related to over 150 claims worldwide, including a ship grounding directly attributed to the use of these contaminated bunkers.
Recent reports of a rise in fuel contamination cases have increased the industry’s concerns over quality of blended fuels. From 1 January 2020, a spike in demand for new low sulphur blends will greatly increase the risk of contamination, argues Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General of BIMCO.
Contaminated IFO 380 bunkers in the US Gulf have resulted in a significant number of vessels experiencing system clogging and, in more extreme cases, engine damage, North Club warned. The contamination has been linked to the use of fuel oil cutter stock, a product added to residual fuels to reduce viscosity.
A situation arose in Singapore over the weekend where Customs decided to treat samples from bunker deliveries as “commercial goods” for import, which prevented bunker surveyors from bringing samples ashore at the Marina South Pier and West Coast Pier, IBIA informed.
Lloyd’s Register’s FOBAS issued an alert warning that recent bunker samples in port of Houston, ordered as ISO-F-RMG380 grade, showed viscosity significantly above the specified limit of 380 cSt. Earlier in October, bunker samples at port of Antwerp had also viscosity exceeding the specified limit of 700 cSt.
In the last week FOBAS has tested a number of ISO-F-DMA samples bunkered at Antwerp in which, based on single test result, the sulphur contents determined exceeded the limit of 0.10 % m/m required for Emission Control Area for SOx (ECA – SOx) operations.
Since 2016, more than 70 oil sheens were reported in the water between New Bedford and Fairhaven, for which no one has claimed responsibility, according to US Coast Guard. Patrols are regularly looking for oil in high traffic areas and when discovered, the teams investigate it to determine if the amount is recoverable, and collect a sample.
The yearly average sulphur content of tested residual fuel oils increased to 2.58% in 2016, up by 0.13% from 2.45% in 2015, according to the International Bunker Industry Association. The test data suggests that supply of residual fuel meeting the upcoming 0.50% sulphur limit without significant blending is very limited.
Veritas Petroleum Services announced the development of a revised Code of Practice for Bunker Quantity Surveying. The second section has been developed to address delivery of fuel via Mass Flow Meter, not only to address the Port of Singapore requirements, but to be prepared to conduct such surveys in any bunker port in the world.
Caterpillar Marine presented its new LNG test bed for gas-fueled engines at its facility in Kiel. The company says that this LNG preparation unit is ‘the first of its kind’ and comprises of an LNG tank and a gas preparation unit, both in 40 ft container size both developed and provided by Marine Service GmbH, Hamburg.
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