Upcoming ISO/PAS 23263 spec to provide IMO 2020 fuel quality answers
Shipowners are recommended to address IMO 2020 related fuel quality concerns through adoption of ISO/PAS 23263:2019 (Considerations for fuel suppliers and users regarding marine fuel quality in view of the implementation of maximum 0.50% S in 2020) in operations.
However, the upcoming document – to be release by the end of September – makes specific reference only to the ISO 8217:2017 specification, the Managing Director, AMEA, of international fuel testing and inspection company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) informs.
Rahul Choudhuri noted ISO 8217:2005 still being the dominant fuel quality specification adopted by the marine fuels sector in Asia and ISO 8217:2012 as the main specification used in Europe; both earlier versions of ISO 8217 cannot be relied upon for adequate protection from IMO 2020 related fuel issues.
“Overall, ISO 8217:2017 simply does a lot more than the 2005 version,” he told delegates while speaking at the 9th Biennial Bunkering in Asia conference on Tuesday (3 September).
“The only relevant standard in use must be the most updated one; that’s ISO 8217:2017 and this is the most important direction for the industry to take.
“ISO/PAS 23263:2019, which makes reference only to the ISO 8217:2017 specification, is an important document and something the shipping industry needs to internalise if they are serious in managing risk from the new blends of 0.5% sulphur limit marine fuels.
“It addresses the fuel quality concerns of the new blends of IMO 2020 compliant fuels and looks at various characteristics such as compatibility, stability, viscosity, cold flow properties, calculated carbon aromaticity index (CCAI) and cat fines.”
In his presentation, Choudhuri further shared bunker fuel quality trends recorded by VPS for 2019.
Off-specs of low flash points and high pour point were the main issues for distillates encountered this year.
“Low flash point fuels pose a safety risk for explosions as they do not conform to SOLAS for the minimum flashpoint of 60 degrees Celsius. We will need to continue monitoring this, as we see low flash point issues distillates taking place in more than 13 countries this year,” he highlights.
“The high pour point fuels also pose a safety issue due to potential cold flow plugging. The industry needs to wake up and know that only pour point testing of distillates cannot give you the reliability or condition of the product; that’s why we always recommend additional cloud point & cold filter plugging point testing.”
Issues with viscosity and density, consistent with earlier years, remain unchanged for heavy fuel oil (HFO).
“These [viscosity and density] issues can be considered manageable but one aspect I want to talk today is about cat fines or aluminium silicon,” notes Choudhuri.
“High cat fine fuels pose a safety risk as it can cause accelerated wear on engine components. A few years ago, a fully loaded LNG carrier encountered main engine failure and was found drifting in the Indian Ocean before being rescued.
“This is not a new story and we found this vessel not measuring its fuel purifier efficiency. Effective fuel management also must include fuel purifier efficiency without fail; a survey conducted by VPS found only 50% of shipowners and operators pay attention to this.”
Published: 4 September, 2019
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