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FOBAS Alert: Off-Specification Bunker Fuels from Rotterdam

20 Aug 2020

Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) on Wednesday (19 August) published a bulletin alerting the maritime sector to bunker fuel samples that did not adhere to ISO 8217 specifications for Total Sediment content in Rotterdam and offers some advice for anyone planning to bunker at the port:

In the last week, FOBAS has tested a number of samples from Rotterdam which had tested TSP results exceeding the ISO 8217 specification limit of 0.10 % v/v for Total Sediment content. The fuels were low Sulphur fuels ordered as VLSFO or ULSFO with tested viscosities of <80cSt. The TSP results range from 0.16%m/m to 0.43%m/m with some attritional results showing clear instability and others less clear on the nature of the sediments present. Fuel was from different suppliers and barges.

Fuels with high sediments can result in excessive sludge deposition in tanks and throughout the handling and treatment/fuel injection systems. Furthermore, the attempted use of such fuels can result in highly compromised combustion leading to engine and turbocharger damage.

In view of the above, if your ships are planning to bunker in this port we recommend that suppliers are advised of your concerns regarding the stability of the fuel in the area, and that they provide you with additional reassurance that they will adhere to the ISO 8217 requirements for the grade ordered.

Additional attention should be given to the collection of bunker samples. It should be ensured that all parties have witnessed the sampling process and have signed witness forms accordingly, and that the supporting documentation includes records of all the samples considered representative of the fuel as loaded.

This issue with high TSP is however a more regular occurrence in recent months with these “new” fuels; FOBAS remains committed to ongoing research with the aim to provide further support and solutions to the clients in future.

Photo credit: Rotterdam Port Authority
Published: 20 August, 2020

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