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Aderco study raises concerns with shipowners over stability of low sulphur bunker fuel

20 Oct 2020

Fuel treatment specialist Aderco on Friday (16 October) said it recently conducted two case studies relating to the stability of Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oil (VLSFO).

The study found the quality of some new low sulphur fuel oils currently supplied being of significant concern to ship owners, ship managers and operators.

One case study was based on a real-life incident from a shipowner and the second based on fuel samples collected from various customers, both being tested by an independent laboratory, it explained.

“The first case involved bunkers being lifted in Houston, Texas. Despite the parameters meeting ISO 8217, duly confirming the bunkers as being ‘normal’, as well as the GC-MS test detecting no chemicals present, the fuel classified by the independent laboratory was ‘3’ on the ASTM D4740 scale, indicating the fuel as being unstable,” said Idris Talib, Technical Surveyor at Aderco, Singapore.

 “Furthermore, naphthalene, an aromatic hydrocarbon, was also detected in the fuel. 

“Aderco’s Bad Fuel Procedure was immediately implemented and, thankfully, the vessel succeeded in consuming the fuel without any abnormal sludge precipitation or damage to machinery, thus avoiding off hire, de-bunkering and all that this entails.”

Fuel samples collected in the second case study underwent stability tests to determine the initial quality of fuels supplied, said Aderco. 

Total Sediment Potential (TSP), Total Sediment Accelerated (TSA) and Existent Total Sediment (TSE) tests were first performed on the low viscosity fuels (<60° C) in order to ascertain the sludge precipitation potential.

A fuel with high TSP that exceeded more than four times the specification limit was subsequently chosen for further testing.

Following the use of an ADERCO additive, the TSP was reduced by more than 90% in addition to observing a considerable reduction in the TSA and TSE values. 

“Even though these results show that fluctuations in low sulphur fuel oil quality and safety issues remain today real challenges for the global shipping industry, the ADERCO support and technical team will continue to afford every assistance and guidance to its customers in order to assist in keeping their vessels running,” assures Olivier d’Olne, Group Technical Director.

Photo credit: Aderco
Published: 20 October, 2020

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