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Argus Media: Singapore ship owners grapple with HSFO contamination

Several vessels that have bunkered HSFO in Singapore are now experiencing mechanical issues because of contaminated fuel, according to several fuel testing agencies.

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Several vessels that have bunkered high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) in Singapore are now experiencing mechanical issues because of contaminated fuel, according to several fuel testing agencies.

31 March, 2022

Organic chloride compound, a substance which may cause excessive sludging, was found on 15 March in several samples of HSFO delivered earlier that month, according to testing agency Maritec.

Several dozen vessels have since experienced power outages as a result, owing to a loss of power and propulsion, testing agency Veritas Petroleum Services said.

Very-low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO) bunkers have also suffered from quality issues, such as low flashpoints, in recent weeks, which has resulted in some debunkering operations in the region. The contaminated HSFO is heard to have originated from only a couple of suppliers.

But it is too early to say if any switching to LSFO will occur, with switching possibly unlikely given high LSFO prices as well, traders said. Outright Singapore 0.5pc sulphur marine fuel prices rose to record highs of $1,009.75/t on 9 March. They have since fallen slightly, but remain supported at $828.75/t yesterday.

"The lack of availabilities and high flat price can lead both suppliers and buyers to compromise on quality," said one local bunker trader.

The premium of HSFO bunkers over HSFO cargoes in Singapore has risen as a result, averaging $15.50/t in March and $25.75/t yesterday, compared to a more typical $10/t, according to Argus data.

Large vessels which are fitted with scrubbers — very large crude carriers (VLCC), very large ore carriers (VLOC), Capesize, and Suezmax vessels — are the ships that will continue to be most affected by the contaminated HSFO. Shipowners with vessels affected by the contaminated fuel have two options, depending on the severity of the contamination and the effect the contamination has had on the vessel's engine. One option is to return to Singapore to debunker and obtain a new supply of HSFO, while the other is to proceed with their voyage and be compensated financially.

How claims proceed would also be dependent on which version of ISO8217 is used, if it is based on 2005, 2010, or 2017. Clause 5 for each of these revisions differ, with 2005 being the most rigid in its writing. For example, in 2005, it states that bunkers "shall not include incorporation of small amounts of additives", while in 2010, the term "small amounts" was removed.

A temporary measure would be to perform more lab tests, but these tests can take 2-3 days, which would eat into shipowners' margins. Argus' TCE rates for a scrubber-fitted Capesize vessel on the Tubarao to Qingdao route was at $20,554/d on 31 March, with rates for a scrubber-fitted Suezmax vessel from Ras Tanura to Qingdao at $14,164/d.

The contamination of HSFO supplies at Singapore, along with likely supply losses from Russia and utility demand picking up in south Asia, have been driving up 180cst HSFO margins, traders said. Singapore 180cst HSFO margins against Dubai crude values shot up to over one-year highs of -$0.08/bl on 11 March, according to Argus' assessments. They also entered positive territory today at $0.83/bl for the first time since $0.05/bl on 2 November 2020.

Pakistan's state-owned marketer PSO has bought 260,000t of HSFO for April-delivery, all priced against 180cst HSFO Mideast Gulf spot assessments on a cfr basis. These are its first purchases since a 65,000t HSFO cargo for first-half November delivery last year, possibly as utility demand for cooling — which typically peaks during summer — picks up. HSFO imports into Bangladesh also reached a five-month high of 263,000t (54,700 b/d) last month, according to Vortexa data.

Meanwhile, leaner low-viscosity fuel oil exports from the US are also tightening low-viscosity molecules supply in markets, further supporting margins. The viscosity of such cargoes could range from 25-100cst, according to market participants.

Just 272,500t of HSFO is expected to depart the US next month, lower than the average 710,900 t/month exports last year, according to Vortexa data. This could be partially because of the loss of Russia fuel oil imports to the US, amid the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. The US had imported 476,900 b/d of HSFO in 2021, with about half coming from Russia, according to Vortexa data.

By Sammy Six, Andrew Khaw and Sarah Giam

 

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 4 April, 2022

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Business

MAN Energy Solutions opens largest service hub in Singapore

New facility able to meet demand for repairs, maintenance and training services for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines, such as two-stroke methanol dual-fuel engines.

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MAN ES MPA

Singapore on Friday (1 March) welcomed the opening of MAN Energy Solutions’ new mixed purpose facility today that will expand their local business activities.

MAN Energy Solutions is one of the global engine makers of alternative-fuel engines, and is driving the maritime energy transition by enabling the use of cleaner fuels in ships around the world.

Located in Tuas, MAN Energy Solutions' EUR 20 mil (SGD30 mil) investment will include a new MAN PrimeServ training academy for customers and employees, a logistics centre to serve as the warehouse for Asia, and a PrimeServ workshop to provide maintenance and repair services, including for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines.

The new facility will serve as the largest service hub for MAN Energy Solutions’ activities and engagements outside of Europe, and will allow shipowners and ship managers to gain round-the-clock access to technical services for MAN Energy Solutions products such as repairs and maintenance of their alternative-fuel two-stroke engines, reduce turnaround times for ships due to quicker access to spare parts, and providing training for seafarers on the safe operation, maintenance, and troubleshooting of all MAN Energy Solutions equipment.

The new facility would also be timely to cater to the demand for repairs, maintenance and training services for MAN Energy Solutions’ alternative-fuel engines, such as the two-stroke methanol dual-fuel engines that are already available and for the two-stroke ammonia dual-fuel engines that are currently in development.

The mixed-purpose facility was launched by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment.

SMS Khor said: “MAN Energy Solutions has been a long-time partner for Maritime Singapore since its establishment here in 1977. I am heartened that MAN Energy Solutions has placed a strong vote of confidence in Singapore by setting up its second hub outside of Europe here, setting the stage for collaboration in maritime decarbonisation, digitalisation, and talent development.”

“The expansion of MAN Energy Solutions’ workshop and warehouse activities will provide much needed capacity to support the maintenance of ocean-going vessels that adopt engines fuelled by new marine fuels.”

“MAN Energy Solutions' expanded training academy will also support Singapore's drive to upskill and reskill of our workforce, to build confidence for maritime workers to safely handle new marine fuels. I look forward to many more years of meaningful collaboration, especially in these emerging areas.”

Dr Uwe Lauber, CEO MAN Energy Solutions, said, “With over 9,000 square metres of floor space, Singapore is our largest hub outside of Europe in what is one of the most important maritime centres globally. We intend for this mixed-purpose facility to advance the maritime energy transition locally through education, logistics, and a comprehensive after-sales portfolio. Ultimately, we are ‘moving big things to zero’ and leading our customers towards a multi-fuel, decarbonised future.”

Mr Teo Eng Dih, Chief Executive Officer of the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, said, “As the world’s largest bunkering port and major transhipment hub, Singapore is committed to the maritime digitalisation and the green transition. We have been long-time partners with MAN Energy Solutions and have been working closely together in various methanol and ammonia shipping consortiums and also in skills development.”

“MAN Energy Solutions’ new maintenance and training facility here will add deep expertise and experience to the growing and vibrant new fuels ecosystem here and also upskilling of our maritime workforce, especially in the area of new methanol and ammonia engines.”

Nicolas Brabeck, Managing Director, MAN Energy Solutions, Singapore, said: “This new facility represents one of the biggest investments that we have made outside of our product centres within recent years. It forms a key part of our company’s Triple 10+ business strategy that aims for growth through green technologies. In this context, we intend to equip our personnel with the right skillsets to handle the new technologies coming online and drive our business forward. We therefore expect to significantly increase staff numbers on-site to some 400 people by 2027, and look forward to cultivating great relationships with our customers and the various, Singaporean authorities.”

MAN Energy Solutions’ Singapore office is its largest service hub outside Europe, and currently employs 250 staff.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 4 March 2024

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Business

Singapore Maritime Officers’ Union launches upgraded Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre

Centre includes new dual-fuel engine simulators, offering realistic training scenarios to prepare seafarers for the evolving maritime landscape and the shift to cleaner bunker fuels.

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Wavelink MPA

Singapore Maritime Officers'​ Union launched the newly upgraded Wavelink Maritime Simulation Centre (WMSC), according to Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) on Thursday (29 February).

The SGD 2.75 million facility includes new dual-fuel engine simulators, offering realistic training scenarios to prepare seafarers for the evolving maritime landscape and the shift to cleaner fuels, in line with industry sustainability goals.

The WMSC was unveiled by Minister Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment at SMOU’s seminar titled Advancing Maritime Resilience: No One is Left Behind.

The seminar, focusing on transition and training, aimed to reinforce shared responsibility, empower the maritime workforce through training, and champion sustainability without disadvantaging stakeholders in achieving #netzero emissions by 2050.

MPA's Assistant Chief Executive (Corporate & Strategy) Hoe Soon Tan participated in a panel discussion on "Prioritising a 'Just Transition", addressing strategies to bridge skill gaps and ensure a smooth and equitable transition for all seafarers.

 

Photo credit: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore
Published: 4 March 2024

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Newbuilding

Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.

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Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker

 

Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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