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FOBAS Alert: Off Specification Fuels from Singapore

16 Feb 2021

Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) on Friday (12 February) published a bulletin alerting the maritime industry to off-spec ISO-F- RMG380 grade bunker fuel, that exceeded the ISO 8217 specification limit of 0.50 % v/v for water content at the Port of Singapore:

In the last week, FOBAS has tested several samples from Singapore, which were ordered as ISO-F- RMG380 grades, that exceeded the ISO 8217 specification limit of 0.50 % v/v for water content. The water values tested were in the range 1.40 % v/v – 6.10 % v/v. Metal analysis results from these samples have suggested the levels of high water to be due to saline/sea water contamination.

Water at levels of >5.00% v/v would not generally be expected to reduce to an acceptable level for engine inlet, during normal on-board treatment. Lower levels would be expected to become manageable with effective onboard treatment, however would still be a concern and could also have commercial implications.

If high water is found in a bunker fuel then further samples should be taken from the top, middle and bottom of the respective bunker tank(s) to determine the distribution of water through the tank. Further to this, samples should also be taken from before and after the purifier, as well as at the engine rail to determine the reduction of water to acceptable levels (max 0.20%v/v) before engine entry.

Any carry over of water into the engine fuel rail can cause possible damage to the fuel pumps, injectors and cylinder components as well as possible turbocharger surging and fouling.

If your ships are planning to bunker in this port then we suggest that the supplier is asked to provide a certificate of quality of the particular stem to ensure that the water concentration is known at the time of bunkering and within the limits of stipulated grade. Particular attention should be given to the collection of fully representative drip samples ensuring all supporting documentation and samples drawn are witnessed and signed for by all parties present.

Photo credit: Hans-Reniers
Published: 16 February, 2021

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