George Collard of global energy and commodity price reporting agency Argus Media on Wednesday (2 December) published an article summarising international law firm Hill & Dickinson partner Beth Bradley’s address at Aracon 2020 on IMO2020 compliant bunker fuel disputes that the firm has encountered over the year:
Problems with off-specification bunker fuel have been relatively rare this year, but have been seen at all the world’s major ports, and any disputes have mostly been resolved without court action, a bunker conference heard today.
Speaking at the Aracon 2020 virtual conference, law firm Hill & Dickinson partner Beth Bradley said that legal action has been uncommon, and has not occurred more often in any one region. At the turn of 2020, when the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) 0.5pc sulphur cap came into force, there were concerns over the quality of new, compliant blends. There have been some issues, but not as much as had been feared.
Bradley said that the majority of problems with 0.5pc sulphur fuel oil have arisen over sediment or sulphur content, and most disputes are resolved commercially.
“It seems to be, particularly with sediment issues, that it comes from all of the major ports. It is not as simple as being able to say the problem is in Singapore or Houston or Rotterdam. There have been problems from all over the world, not in huge volumes, and it has been pretty spread out,” Bradley said. “And it is the same with sulphur content. There does not seem to be a pattern emerging.”
Also speaking at Aracon, fuel testing firm Fobas’ product manager Muhammad Usman said just under 4pc of 0.5pc fuel oil samples it tested were off-specification so far this year, with January the worst month at over 5pc. Testing firm Bureau Veritas’ global business development manager Gunnar Kjeldsen said that 6.5pc of the 0.5pc fuel oil samples it tested in the Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) hub were off-spec.
Usman and Kjeldsen said around half of off-spec 0.5pc fuel oil samples were down to high sedimentation levels, with elevated sulphur making up a significant chunk. Kjeldsen said there was a wide monthly variance in off-spec 0.5pc fuel oil samples this year, and that October was the lowest month with just 2pc off-spec.
Shipping association Bimco warned earlier in the year that more than half of respondents to a survey had received testing results showing 0.5pc fuel oil fell afoul of regulations.
Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 3 December, 2020
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