These fuels are causing problematic fuel pump plungers, fuel pump seizures and other fuel system related failures. Furthermore, the fuel may increase sediment levels at separators and fuel filters and, in some cases, may completely clog filters.


The standard fuel oil test methods found in the ISO 8217 specification will not detect these underlying problems. The USCG recommends that vessel owners and managers ensure vessel operators to know this potential hazardous condition, monitor fuel oil system components and consult their bunker suppliers and other technical service providers regarding this issue.

VPS performed marine fuel analysis on affected vessels that experienced fuel oil system problem found that phenolic compounds and long chain fatty acids were present in the fuel. In addition, FOBAS identified similar contaminants in fuels they sampled.

This fuel oil contamination could cause engine failures and  losses of propulsion, potentially having catastrophic consequences. These substances within the fuel is in violation of MARPOL Annex VI regulation 18.2 and Clause 5 of ISO 8217 which states: "The fuel should not include any added substance or chemical waste which jeopardizes the safety or adversely affects the performance of the machinery; or is harmful to personnel; or contributes overall to additional air pollution."