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FOBAS Alert: Off-Specification Fuels from Zona Comun, Argentina

18 Aug 2020

Lloyd’s Register Fuel Oil Bunkering Analysis and Advisory Service (FOBAS) on Monday (17 August) published a bulletin alerting the maritime industry to RMG 380 grade bunker fuel that did not adhere to ISO 8217 specifications for water content at Zona Comun, Argentina, and offers some guidelines for anyone planning to bunker at the port:

In the last week, FOBAS has tested a number of samples from Zona Comun 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 0.85 % v/v – 2.00 % v/v. Ash and metals analysis results suggest the water to be fresh water and not saline/sea water.

Water at these levels would generally be expected to be manageable with effective onboard treatment including efficient purification, however is still a concern and would also have commercial implications in terms of quantity of fuel received.

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 can be taken from before and after the purifier as well as engine entry to determine the reduction of water to acceptable levels (0.20%v/vv) 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 turbo charger 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.

Published: 18 August, 2020


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