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IBIA and ISO provide key input on bunker fuel quality to IMO meeting

Both presented and participated in a Q&A to elaborate on their joint paper where they explained why it is considered unadvisable to regulate oil fuel parameters other than flashpoint.




MT photos 13 February 2023 48

The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) on Tuesday (13 June) released an article on IBIA and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) providing presentations followed by a Q&A to elaborate on the subjects covered in their joint paper: 

IBIA and ISO made a real impact at the IMO’s recent Maritime Safety Committee meeting, MSC 107 (31 May to 9 June), where we provided presentations followed by a Q&A session to elaborate on the subjects covered in our joint paper, MSC 107/6/4. It was a great opportunity to bring more clarity to long-running discussions on fuel oil safety at the IMO, and it was very well received by IMO delegates who found our session very informative.

In MSC 107/6/4, IBIA and ISO described why we would not recommend making the ISO 8217 standard mandatory (one of the proposals under discussion at MSC 107). Our paper also outlined test precision principles as per ISO 4259, and explained why it is considered unadvisable to regulate oil fuel parameters other than flashpoint due to uncertainties in establishing clear and consistent links between specific fuel parameters and the safety of ships.

Early on during MSC 107, on June 1, ISO and IBIA jointly held a session with the title “Understanding fuel oil quality – meet the experts” where we provided two presentations followed by a Q&A. IBIA’s Director and IMO Representative Unni Einemo introduced the panel of experts and moderated the Q&A.

First up, Timothy Wilson, Principal Consultant Engineer at Lloyd’s Register, provided key insights into the scope of ISO 8217. He explained how the primary objective of 8217 is to safeguard ships from operational issues, but that a fuel testing off-spec does not necessarily impose a significant risk for the ship. In fact, off-specs very rarely means that the fuel is “unusable” or “unsafe”, but requires the engineers to understand the capacity of the ship to handle and manage the fuel safely.

Sharing test data from LR FOBAS from so far in 2023, he said 98.02% of distillate marine fuels met ISO 8217 specifications when taking into account the ISO 4259 test method precision application for the receiving ship. For residual fuel grades, the corresponding figure was 97.37% of all samples.

The most common off-specs include viscosity, water and sulphur. Analysing the data more closely, Wilson said only around 0.25% of total global off-specs for residual marine fuel grades were regarded as potentially problematic or even unusable fuels due to either significant offspecs for flashpoint (0.03%), cat fines (0.04%), water content (0.06%) or total sediment (0.12%).

Wilson shared that the next edition of ISO 8217 will see changes regarding categorisation, fuel stability, biofuels/FAME content, and an update on chemical compounds and test methodologies, in particular for Organic Chlorides.

Next, Charlotte Røjgaard, VeriFuel Global Business Director, did a presentation explaining the complexities of identifying clear cause and effect when a fuel has met ISO 8217 specifications, but the ship experiences operational problems. In these cases, fuel testing agencies are known to use advanced GCMS testing to try to identify if there are chemical compounds present that may be the culprit. She described how in some cases, such investigative testing has been successful in narrowing down the cause(s), but in other cases there was no consensus among fuel testing agencies about which chemical(s) were to blame, if any.

One of the difficulties stems from testing agencies using in-house methods. They can produce very different analysis results when testing the same fuel, both with regards to which chemical compounds they detect, and at which concentrations. This makes it hard to make meaningful comparisons and draw clear conclusions.

Unless there has been an operational problem, fuels will mostly not be subjected to GCMS tests, but Røjgaard shared data indicating that some of the chemical species often pointed to as the culprit were often also found in fuels that had caused no known operational problems. She said more research is needed into building a better understanding of how common specific chemical compounds are, whether they are in fact problematic and if so at what concentrations, or if they perhaps only cause operational issues under very specific onboard conditions.

In addition to Wilson and Røjgaard, Jeroen de Vos, Head of Quality at Peninsula and an IBIA board member, joined the expert panel for the Q&A with IMO delegates. A former employee of DNVPS and VPS, he too has deep knowledge of fuel quality testing, and all three panellists are members of the of ISO TC28/SC4/WG6, the technical committee overseeing the revision of the ISO 8217 marine fuel quality standard.

There were plenty of questions and comments from IMO delegates during the Q&A. The message from the expert panel was to highlight the importance of transparency and sharing information in an objective and constructive way. Ship operators can help by documenting the onboard experience, to establish if specific problems can be clearly linked to a specific fuel batch. Suppliers can help by providing more clarity and traceability on the supply chain. Testing agencies can help by sharing data with engine makers, authorities and organisations like CIMAC, and working toward finding standardised test methods.

Wilson also noted all the good work that has been made available to the industry to provide guidance on dealing with fuel quality since the introduction of the 0.50% sulphur limit in 2020. This included the ISO PAS  23263: 2019, the IMO’s Ship Implementation Plan and other IMO guidelines, and the Joint Industry Guidance on the supply and use of 0.50%-sulphur marine fuel that was published in August 2019 (available on THIS LINK).

Related: IBIA proposals to IMO on bunker fuel safety and sampling guidelines


Photo credit: International Bunker Industry Association
Published: 21 June, 2023

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GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the “TIHAMA”, a 19,870 TEU container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd in final trial; marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022.





GCMD concludes its final biofuel blend supply chain trial with Hapag-Lloyd

The Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation (GCMD) on Thursday (18 July) said it has successfully completed its final supply chain trial for biofuel blended with very low sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO). 

This marks the end of a series of trials initiated in July 2022 as part of a larger pilot to develop a framework to provide quality, quantity and GHG abatement assurances for drop-in fuels.

In this final trial, bp provided the B30 biofuel blend to the TIHAMA, a 19,870 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) container vessel operated by Hapag-Lloyd.

The biofuel component used is certified to the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification (ISCC) standard – a multistakeholder certification scheme for biobased materials. The biofuel component comprised neat Fatty Acid Methyl Ester (FAME) produced from food waste.

Authentix, a tracer solutions provider, supplied and dosed the FAME with an organic-based tracer at the storage terminal outside the Netherlands. The dosed FAME was then transported to the Port of Rotterdam for blending with VLSFO to achieve a B30 blend, before the blend was bunkered onboard the TIHAMA.

Similar to previous trials, GCMD engaged fuel testing company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) to witness the operations at all stages – from biofuel cargo transfer to bunkering. VPS also collected and conducted extensive laboratory tests on samples of the biofuel and biofuel blend collected at pre-determined points along the supply chain to assess quality per Standards EN 14214 and ISO 8217.

With well-to-wake emissions of 13.74 gCO2e/MJ, the neat FAME presented a 85.4% emissions reduction compared to the emissions of the fossil marine fuel. The reduced emissions complies with the MEPC 80, which requires a minimum emissions reduction of 65% in order for biofuels to be classified as sustainable.

GCMD and Hapag-Lloyd determined that consumption of the 4,500 MT B30 blend of FAME and VLSFO resulted in 27.9% emissions reduction compared to sailing on VLSFO.

A newly developed tracer deployed with this supply chain

GCMD collaborated with Authentix to develop and deploy a new organic-based tracer to authenticate the origin and verify the amount of FAME present in the blend. The proprietary tracer blended homogeneously with FAME and was detected at expected concentrations at all sampling points along the supply chain.

This trial marks the first deployment of this tracer in a marine fuel supply chain. Previously, similar tracers were used to authenticate and quantify biofuels in road transport and LPG supply chains.

Development of a comprehensive biofuels assurance framework underway

With the completion of this trial, GCMD has deployed a diverse range of tracer technologies, including synthetic DNA and element-based tracers, in addition to the organic-based tracer used in this trial. The trials have also included the development of a chemical fingerprinting methodology and the evaluation of lock-and-seal and automatic identification systems (AIS) as additional solutions to ensure the integrity of the biofuels supply chain.

Learnings on tracer limitations and benefits will be incorporated into a framework that recommends appropriate use to ensure consistent and robust performance. This effort will complement existing ISCC by providing additional supply chain assurance through physical traceability.

The insights from these trials will be shared in a series of reports covering issues, such as traceability, biofuel degradation, supply chain optimisation and abatement costs. These findings will culminate in a comprehensive assurance framework to provide guidance on biofuels use, slated for release in the fourth quarter of 2024.


Photo credit: Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation
Published: 19 July 2024

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MPA, ITOCHU and partners sign MoU on ammonia-fuelled bulk carriers study

As a government agency, MPA,will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations, says ClassNK.





RESIZED venti views

Classification society ClassNK on Thursday (18 July) said it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ITOCHU Corporation, Nihon Shipyard Co., Ltd., and Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) regarding a joint study for the design and safety specifications of ammonia-fuelled ships which are under development by ITOCHU and partners.

“The discussion for a specification of ammonia-fuelled ships with a governmental body related to their operation is essential for a social implementation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK said. 

“As one of parties of the MoU, MPA, a government agency overseeing the world’s busiest bunkering hub, will review and provide their views to the designs of the ammonia-fuelled ships to ensure their safe operations.”

The MoU is based on the premise that 200,000 deadweight ton class bulk carriers will be built by Nihon Shipyard with an ammonia dual-fuelled engine.

“The necessary clarifications of the specification for the ammonia-fueled ship to carry out ammonia bunkering in Singapore will be conducted among parties of this MoU, for the commercialisation of ammonia-fuelled ships,” ClassNK added.


Photo credit: Venti Views on Unsplash
Published: 19 July 2024

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“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels “Viking Ocean”, “Viking Diamond” and “Viking Coral” while bunkering in Singapore, says Gram Car Carriers.





“K” Line to use biofuel on three Gram Car Carriers-chartered vessels in Singapore

Norwegian transportation firm Gram Car Carriers (GCC) on Thursday (18 July) said Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K” LINE) will use biofuel on three vessels chartered from GCC from July onwards. 

“The biofuel will be supplied to the sister vessels Viking Ocean, Viking Diamond and Viking Coral while bunkering in Singapore, an Asian hub for marine biofuels,” GCC said on its social media. 

“The use of biofuel is a key environmental initiative to reduce emissions across the entire value chain (well-to-exhaust) and an effective way of transitioning to low-carbon marine fuels amid globally tightening environmental regulations.”

“We support the green mobility shift. This means that GCC commit to supporting the transition of both vehicles and their logistic chain towards a zero-emission future in close cooperation with leading customers such as K-Line,” said Georg A. Whist, CEO of GCC.


Photo credit: Gram Car Carriers
Published: 19 July 2024

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