This call to action comes as a result of recent events relating to fuel quality. While there have been a series of marine bunker fuel contamination cases around the world during 2018, the reality is that nothing conclusive has yet been identified in terms of the cause.

This has been confirmed by the International Council on Combustion Engines (CIMAC) which found that no single chemical could be blamed for the engine failures caused by off-specification fuel.

With under a year to go until the 2020 sulphur cap regulation comes into force, the marine fuel supply chain must band together and use this as an opportunity to help dispel increasingly outdated bunker fuel delivery processes and procedures. A lack of transparency does not adequately serve the interests of the ship owners, shipmanagers, operators, or charterers. Instead of pulling in different directions, we need to work collaboratively for the greater good of the industry,

...Bureau Veritas’ Global Technical Manager for Marine Fuels, Charlotte Røjgaard, said.

While testing has previously been conducted in isolation, VeriFuel warns that this approach is not helping to solve the underlying problem and, without industry-wide cause-and-effect analysis on a global scale, testing will remain limited to advising owners afterwards what "might" have caused their problem.

As digitalisation moves the industry away from slow, analogue processes and procedures, technologies such as blockchain could have an important role to play by delivering greater data transparency, traceability and security in bunker supply chains...Treating fuel contamination issues as a commercial opportunity, rather than pulling together at this critical time will not only exacerbate fuel quality challenges, it will also continue a culture of mistrust that has plagued the bunker industry for years. We must all contribute to problem-solving,

...Røjgaard explained.

When the global bunker sulphur limit drops to 0.50% from 3.50% at the start of 2020, most of the world's shipowners are expected to comply by switching from high sulphur fuel oil to very low sulphur fuel oils (VLSFOs) with a sulphur content at, or below, 0.50%, unless equipped with emission abatement techniques (e.g. scrubbers).

Fresh on the market, it is essential to understand just how these fuels will impact fuel systems and engines, making the need for transparency far more crucial, VeriFuel noted.