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IMO 2020

IBIA: Confusion on ISO 8217 ‘cleared up’ at IMO meeting

Issue relates to the marine fuel quality standard covering 0.50% sulphur limit fuel blends.




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The following statement was written by Unni Einemo of the International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) in regards to clarifications made of ISO 8217’s coverage on 0.50% sulphur limit marine fuels at a recent IMO meeting:

Confusion about whether the existing ISO 8217 marine fuel quality standard will cover fuel blends produced to meet the 0.50% sulphur limit has, hopefully, been cleared up at last week’s meeting at the International Maritime Organization.

Concerns about the safety of fuel blends complying with the upcoming 0.50% sulphur limit were on the agenda for the intersessional working group (ISWG) meeting of the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response (PPR), which was tasked with developing guidelines to support the consistent implementation of the 2020 sulphur limit.

Some documents submitted to the meeting stated that these fuel blends would not meet ISO 8217 specifications, and cited safety concerns including stability, compatibility, cold flow properties, acid number, flash point, ignition quality and cat fines. IBIA has already explained that the current SOLAS flashpoint limit and existing ISO 8217 parameters will still apply to fuel blends produced to meet the 0.50% sulphur limit, or they will be ‘off-spec’ and hence not commercially viable. 

IBIA was encouraged to hear several delegations at the IMO meeting last week also highlighting that ISO 8217 already addresses most of the safety concerns raised. In particular, a statement made by ISO, represented at the meeting by the Chair of the technical committee in charge of the ISO 8217 marine fuel standard, said the 0.50% fuel oils “will be fully capable of being categorised within the existing ISO 8217 standard.”

Moreover, ISO explained that the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) which the ISO 8217 committee expects to develop and finalise prior to 2020 will provide guidance as to the application of the existing ISO 8217 standard to 0.50% sulphur fuels.

One of the key concerns expressed in the market is the stability of fuel blends, as it has been pointed out that some blend components – especially if mixing aromatic and paraffinic refinery streams – would increase the risk of the final blend being unstable. ISO pointed out to the meeting that fuel oil blenders and suppliers should take careful note of these consequences ensuring this fuel characteristic is not overlooked. That statement is in line with IBIA’s “Best practice guidance for suppliers for assuring the quality of bunkers delivered to ships” published earlier this year, in particular under Chapter 4.2 – Quality control during production of bunkers.

One element that ISO 8217 cannot address, however, is compatibility between different blends ordered by ships. Compatibility between pure distillate fuels is not an issue as they do not contain asphaltenes, however for blends containing residual fuel oils, ship operators need to be fully aware of the potential for different batches of fuel being incompatible. Just like the case is today, it will not be possible for suppliers to guarantee compatibility as blend formulations will vary widely, hence ships will, as they do today, have to consider the risk of incompatibility. The ISO representative told the meeting: “Recognising that some degree of mixing of different fuel oils onboard the ship cannot be avoided, many ships today have already procedures in place to minimise co-mingling of fuel oils with bunker segregation being always the first option. We would therefore encourage ship operators to evaluate further their segregation policy.”

Some of the safety considerations surrounding fuel management under the 0.50% sulphur limit have been addressed in guidelines developed at last week’s meeting for the planning and preparatory stage, which will be forwarded to the 73rd session of the IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Committee in October for approval.

A more comprehensive document containing guidelines of a more operational nature to help operators manage both distillate fuels and fuel oil blends containing residual fuel will be developed at PPR in February next year for approval by MEPC 74 in May, 2019.

Several elements that may be included in ship operational guidance were described in documents submitted to last week’s meeting, however, it was agreed to take up an initiative by OCIMF and IPIECA to establish industry guidance that addresses the impact on fuel and machinery systems resulting from new fuel blends or fuel types with guidance on the handling, storage and use of such fuels. They have engaged with organisations including as CIMAC, the Energy Institute and ISO to develop such guidance and have invited other interested parties to join. IBIA has taken up the invitation.

Related: ISO Working Group takes stand on 0.50% sulphur marine fuel oils

Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 19 July, 2018


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LNG Bunkering

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

Bunker barge “FlexFueler001” delivered 110 mt of LNG bunker fuel to chemical tanker “Liselotte Esberger”, marking a milestone since it was the first time Titan delivered to a vessel of E&S Tankers.





Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

LNG bunker fuel supplier Titan on Monday (19 February) said it executed a successful LNG bunkering operation for E&S Tankers, a joint venture of Essberger Tankers and Stolt Tankers as an operator of chemical tankers within Europe. 

The refuelling operation took place at the port of Antwerp on 15 January. 

“Our vessel, FlexFueler001, flawlessly delivered 110 mt of LNG to the Liselotte Esberger, marking a milestone since it is the first time we deliver to a vessel of E&S Tankers,” it said in a social media post. 

“This operation underscores our dedication to sustainable shipping practices and showcases our commitment to environmentally friendly solutions. We're proud to collaborate with E&S Tankers and look forward to furthering our shared mission.”

Titan completes successful LNG bunkering op of E&S Tankers ship in Antwerp

According to E&S Tankers website, the 7,135 dwt Liselotte Essberger arrived in Hamburg from a shipyard in China on 5 December 2023 and was christened the following day.  

The vessel is first of a total of four newbuildings ordered by the firm that are equipped with LNG dual-fuel engines.

Related: E&S Tankers launches second LNG dual fuel chemical tanker “John T. Essberger”


Photo credit: Titan and E&S Tankers
Published: 20 February, 2024

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Shipping Corridor

Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan’s top two busiest routes can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year, says Korean NPO Solutions for Our Climate.





Report: Korea-US-Japan green shipping corridors can lead to significant environmental impact

Korea-based non-profit organisation Solutions for Our Climate (SFOC) on Tuesday (13 February) said creating green shipping corridors between South Korea, the United States and Japan's top two busiest routes – Busan-Tokyo and Yokohama; Busan-Los Angeles and Long Beach– can reduce up to 41.3 million tCO2 each year. 

This is equivalent to annual emissions from over 9 million passenger vehicles in the United States.

“We evaluated the anticipated impact of several proposed KoreaUnited States-Japan green shipping corridors involving ports of Busan (KRPUS), Incheon (KRINC), and Gwangyang (KRKAN) —South Korea’s three major container ports,” SFOC said in the report. 

Each of the three South Korean ports will have the most significant environmental impact if connected to ports of Tokyo (JPTYO)/Yokohama (JPYOK) in Japan and ports of Los Angeles (USLAX)/Long Beach (USLGB) in the United States. 

“If container ships that travel KRPUS – JPTYO/ JPYOK and KRPUS – USLAX/USLGB are converted to zero emission ships, we can expect significant reduction in global carbon dioxide emissions, approximately 20.7 million tCO2 and 20.6 million tCO2, respectively,” it added. 

Accordingly, reducing GHG emissions in the global maritime shipping will require coordinated multilateral commitments and actions.

The green shipping corridor initiative is a global effort to align the shipping industry with the 1.5°C trajectory. It aims to:

  • Create maritime routes in which mainly zero-emission ships travel
  • Run ports with 100 percent renewable energy
  • Enforce mandatory use of on-shore power for docked vessels.

“With increasing global shipping emissions, green corridors are key to decarbonising the sector,” SFOC said. 

“Our latest report on green corridors comes on the heels of South Korea and the United States' announcement to work together to implement cross-country green shipping corridors between several of their key ports.”


Photo credit: Solutions for Our Climate
Published: 14 February, 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Ports of Rotterdam and Shannon Foynes to develop European green fuels supply chain corridor

Ports will also potentially work together on market development in this new market and jointly find final off-takers for supplies from Ireland including maritime fuels sector.





Ports of Rotterdam and Shannon Foynes to develop European green fuels supply chain corridor

Port of Rotterdam, Europe’s largest port, on Tuesday (30 January) said it has signed an agreement with Ireland’s largest bulk port Shannon Foyne with a view to developing a supply-chain corridor for exporting green fuels into Europe produced from the west of Ireland’s limitless wind resource.

The agreement will focus on market and trade development for vast volumes of green hydrogen and its derivatives produced at the planned international green energy hub on the Shannon Estuary. The Memorandum of Understanding signed by the ports identifies significant and identified scale-up volumes of green hydrogen commencing with proof-of-concept volumes by 2030.

Europe’s overall green hydrogen strategy for 2030 is to import 10 million tonnes of renewable hydrogen by 2030 for use in heavy industry and transport sectors that are traditionally reliant on coal, natural gas, and oil. The Port of Rotterdam intends to facilitate volumes of 40 million tonnes from across the world by 2050, a significant proportion of which can come from the Atlantic resource.

Further opportunities will also be explored under the MOU, including building coalitions with interested and suitable commercial parties and adding other parties to the MOU to help achieve a joint supply chain process for delivering the first proof-of-concept volumes before 2030.

The MOU also provides for engaging relevant public stakeholders to support the initiative and sharing of information regarding the potential supply of green hydrogen and green hydrogen derivatives, such as green ammonia, green methanol, etc, as well as sharing best practice information on areas such as desalination, high voltage electricity, industrial clustering around the H2 molecule and green ship bunkering processes.

The two ports will also potentially work together on market development in this new market and jointly finding final off-takers for supplies from Ireland. These would include maritime fuels sector, sustainable aviation fuels, green fertiliser and facilities with direct green hydrogen fuel requirements such as the steel industry.

René van der Plas, Director International at the Port of Rotterdam, said: “The port of Rotterdam is already Europe’s leading energy hub and recognises the significance and opportunity for all European citizens and industries arising from the green transition. To that end, hydrogen is one of our priorities and we are working hard towards establishing infrastructure, facilities and partnerships that will help deliver on this.

“This agreement with Shannon Foynes Port is one such partnership and can support our efforts to set up supply chain corridors for the import of green hydrogen into north-west Europe from countries elsewhere with high potential for green and low carbon hydrogen production. Shannon Foynes Port is an ideal partner in that respect.”

Patrick Keating, CEO of Shannon Foynes Port Company, said: “With the largest wind resource in Europe off our west coast, we have the opportunity to become Europe’s leading renewable energy generation hub. That will deliver transformational change for Ireland in terms of energy independence and an unprecedented economic gain in the process. In delivering on this, too, we can make our biggest ever contribution to the European project as we become a very significant contributor to REPowerEU, Europe’s plan to end reliance on fossil fuels.

“We can produce an infinite supply of renewable energy here and there are already a number of routes to market emerging for that energy. One such route to market is the development of a supply chain into Europe.”

“This agreement with the Port of Rotterdam is a key step towards enabling that. The port of Rotterdam already works on introducing the fuels and feedstocks of the future with major oil and gas companies and its broader port community of over 3,000 commercial companies. It can be a key supply chain corridor for exporting green fuels from the Shannon Estuary into Europe. This is very significant recognition and validation of the potential for hydrogen production generated in Ireland to be exported into Europe.”


Photo credit: Port of Rotterdam
Published: 31 January, 2024

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