The previous week FOBAS tested a number of fuels from Fujairah that contained elevated acid number (TAN). The tested TAN values were all well above the average for the port (0.12mgKOH/g). Therefore, FOBAS alerts that any such contaminants even at low levels contravenes the stipulations of Revised MARPOL Annex VI regulation 18.3 and International Marine Fuel Standard ISO 8217, Clause 5.
The Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) released an alert on 14 March, in which it warned all shipowners and operators regarding low flash point residual fuels at Singapore. The tested flash points were below the 60°C SOLAS minimum limit, with the results varying between 55 and 58 °C.
Blue Fin Tankers, part of the Heidmar tanker pool, claims the marine fuel supplier delivered bunkers that were off-spec and not suitable to use. Mainly, Blue Fin ordered 800 – 1,000 metric tonnes of IFO 180 cSt RMG 180 at $508 per ton to be delivered to the M/V Ridgebury Alina L at the Mauritian port. The vessel was under charter to Resource Marine Pte Ltd. for a voyage from Freeport, Bahamas to Singapore.
IUMI, the International Union of Marine Insurance, forces refineries to test on low sulphur fuels ahead of the introduction of the global sulphur cap on 2020. IUMI stated that fuel testing is undertaken by the end-user but this has to change. IUMI is calling for regulation that obliges refineries to guarantee the quality of their fuel and for vessel operators to improve their systems, processes and training to protect their vessels against the potential impact of using low sulphur bunkers.
Maritime Blockchain Labs (MBL), a partnership between Lloyd’s Register Foundation and BLOC, announced a real-world testing phase for a technology solution that improves traceability and trust in bunker fuel supply chain.
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.
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