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Argus Media: Fujairah suppliers offered contaminated bunker fuel

18 Apr 2022

Bunker suppliers in Fujairah in the UAE have been receiving offers to purchase marine fuel from vessels that bought contaminated high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) in Singapore.

14 April, 2022

The Maritime Authority of Singapore (MPA) was notified on 14 March that a number of ships had been supplied with HSFO containing high concentration levels of Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC). 

The contaminated fuel was supplied by trading firm Glencore to Chinese bunker supplier PetroChina, which in turn supplied about 200 ships in the Port of Singapore. “Of these, about 80 ships have reported various issues with their fuel pumps and engines,” MPA said.

A number of Fujairah bunker suppliers and traders confirmed that they have been receiving enquiries from shipping firms about the possibility of unloading, or “de-bunkering”, the contaminated fuel. “Last week we received three enquiries about de-bunkering in Fujairah, but hardly anyone is keen on buying it,” a Fujairah supplier said.

“If these vessels want to sell contaminated bunker fuel oil in the Middle East, then Fujairah is their best option as most of the other bunkering locations in the region are basically one supplier and mostly governmental companies,” another trader said.

One source mentioned a supplier that might be interested, but this could not be confirmed. 

Bunker suppliers tend not to be keen on acquiring contaminated product as reblending or diluting it carries additional costs and does not necessarily ensure its safety for vessel engines.

“We have to be very cautious because the nature of the contamination means heavy diluting may not get rid of the problem,” a shipping source said.

Bunker fuel supplied in Singapore must meet ISO 8217 international standards. The fuel supplied by Glencore adhered to that, but ISO 8217 does not test for COC. “It is not easy to detect COC because you need a special and very expensive test to be carried out and only three laboratories in the world can do this test,” according to a supplier.

With around 140,000t of off-specification bunker fuel supplied, some could potentially be offered as slops or used by power utilities, according to traders.

By Elshan Aliyev


Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 18 April, 2022


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