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FOBAS Alert: Off Specification Fuels from ARA, Houston and Istanbul

27 Jan 2021

Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) on Tuesday (26 January) published a bulletin alerting the maritime industry to VLSFO bunker fuel that had Total Sediment Potential test results exceeding the ISO8217 specification limit in the ARA region, Houston and Istanbul:

In recent weeks, FOBAS has tested several samples from ARA (Antwerp, Rotterdam, Amsterdam), Houston and Istanbul, which had tested Total Sediment Potential (TSP) results exceeding the ISO8217 specification limit of 0.10% m/m.

The ARA region samples were all VSLFO fuels and TSP results ranged from 0.16% m/m to 0.56% m/m. Extended analysis indicated these results were mainly due to precipitated asphaltenic material.

The Houston samples were all VSLFO fuels and TSP results ranged from 0.21% m/m to 0.33% m/m. Extended analysis indicated these results were mainly due to extraneous dirt content

The Istanbul samples were all VSLFO fuels and TSP results ranged from 0.17% m/m to 0.45% m/m. Extended analysis indicated these results were mainly due to extraneous dirt content.

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

In view of the above, if your ships are planning to bunker in these ports, 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.

Related: FOBAS Alert: Low Flash Point Distillate Marine Fuels in Falmouth


Photo credit: Hans-Reniers
Published: 27 January, 2021

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