BIMCO, the world’s largest international shipping association, Tuesday called for bunker states to take action against marine fuel contamination cases due to suppliers in their respective territories not being in compliance with MARPOL Annex VI regulations:
Bad bunker risk will rise in 2020: Bunker states must take action
Recent reports of a rise in fuel contamination cases have increased the industry’s concerns over quality and safety of blended fuels as 2020 approaches. And for a good reason. A spike in demand for new low sulphur blends from 1 January 2020 will greatly increase the risk of contamination. Lars Robert Pedersen, Deputy Secretary General of BIMCO calls for bunker states to take responsibility.
When the IMO’s 0.5% sulphur limit comes into force in 16 months, blending will increase significantly. Suppliers will have to blend the traditional heavy fuel with a lot of lighter refined products – products which are often cheap and of rather poor quality – to reduce the level of sulphur.
“The risk that the new low sulphur fuel is not of the quality that it should be, and that it will cause operational problems, is bound to increase with the new sulphur regulation. The low sulphur fuel products needed on 1 January 2020 are not developed yet. The suppliers do not know yet what they will look like or what blending components will go in there. That is a concern,” says Lars Robert Pedersen.
Bunker states must step up
While prevention of potential contamination cases is difficult, the shipping industry can, and should, call on bunker states to take responsibility when suppliers hosted in their state are caught supplying bad fuel.
“Bunker states have committed under the MARPOL Annex VI to take action against suppliers in their territory, if they supply fuel that is different from what they declare. Should the bunker fuel delivered not match the bunker delivery note, the states have an enforcement obligation. Unfortunately, this is not really happening and therefore, there is little consequence if a supplier is caught supplying bad bunker fuel. That is unsatisfactory,” says Lars Robert Pedersen and adds:
“By states taking legal action – like they have committed to do – every time contaminated and unsuitable fuel is distributed, it would become too expensive for the suppliers to continue this practice. It is not a 100% guarantee, but the shipping industry needs proof that states will take this serious ahead of 2020. It needs to change,” he says.
A few ways for shipowners and operators to try to anticipate and prevent operational problems is to place all new fuel in empty tanks. Doing a full analysis and screenings for known contaminants of the product is also a way to try and prevent operational problems from contaminated fuel. This should ideally be done before the fuel is received. If that is not possible, it should be done after bunkering and always before the fuel is used onboard.
Photo credit: BIMCO
Published: 4 September, 2018
Additional topics of bunker contamination and OCM services discussed at VPS’ Fuel Management Challenges – The Year of 2021 & Beyond webinar on 23 September; Manifold Times summarises the session.
‘The JMs have failed to discharge their duties by blindly helping the Banks mount a false case against the Defendant,’ wrote defence lawyers representing former IPP Director Dr Goh Jian Hian in court statement.
Lead prosecutor Andreas Myllerup Laursen aims for a fine and a prison sentence in the so-called Syria case scheduled to commence in Odense, Denmark on 26 October, writes the Danish publication.
In a modern re-telling of the story of David versus Goliath, local bunker barge owners/charterers successfully resisted claims brought in the Singapore courts by Phillips 66 for misdelivery of bunkers.
Bunker barge owners and operators; traders and suppliers; banks, including players in other countries, will have to re-examine respective operations, advises Helmsman Associate Director Jonathan Tan.
Vopak BL was a non-essential document with no contractual force and had no effect as a contract of carriage or as a document of title, states written Judgement issued by Singapore Court of Appeal.