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FOBAS Alert: Off-Specification Fuels from Port Elizabeth

17 Aug 2020

Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) on Friday (14 August) published a bulletin alerting the maritime industry to RMG 380 grade bunker fuel that did not adhere to ISO 8217 specifications at port Elizabeth, and offers some guidelines on how to navigate the situation for anyone planning to bunker at the port:

In the last week, FOBAS has tested a number of samples from Port Elizabeth which were ordered as ISO-F-RMG380 grades, that exceeded the ISO 8217 specification limit of 0.10%m/m for TSP. The TSP values tested were in the range 0.23 % m/m – 0.38 % m/m 

Extended analysis by Total Sediment Existent (TSE) and Toluene Wash indicated that the high sediment results were mainly due to extraneous dirt.

Advised bunker details from respective Bunker Delivery Notes (BDN) as well as FOBAS quality analysis indicate the samples appear to originate from the same batch of fuel delivered over a period of time.

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 addition to the above, fuels containing a high amount of extraneous dirt can result in heavy loading on purifiers which can lower the purifier plant efficiency with respect to removing harmful contaminants such as Aluminium. Silicon and/or Water. Purifiers should be monitored and operational adjustments made as necessary.

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.

Published: 17 August, 2020

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