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IBIA: IMO sub-committee accepts use of electronic BDNs after long discussion

IBIA reported an IMO sub-committee has agreed that bunker delivery notes are acceptable in either hard copy or digital form providing they meet the relevant requirements of MARPOL Annex VI.





The International Bunker Industry Association (IBIA) on Wednesday (3 May) released an article on its observations of the 10th session of Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response, focusing on electronic bunker delivery notes:

IBIA is pleased to report that an IMO sub-committee, which will report to MEPC 80, has agreed that bunker delivery notes (BDNs) are acceptable in either hard copy or digital form providing they meet the relevant requirements of MARPOL Annex VI.

It follows a proposal made to the Sub-Committee on Pollution Prevention and Response by the UK, IACS and IBIA, which was discussed at length during last week’s 10th session (PPR 10).

Our proposal, contained in document PPR 10/14, was made to give industry certainty and alleviate challenges during port State control (PSC) regarding the acceptability of an electronic BDN. Instances have been reported where this was an issue.

Regulation 18.5 of MARPOL Annex VI requires details of fuel oil intended for combustion purposes to be recorded by means of the BDN which is to contain at least the information in appendix V of MARPOL Annex VI. Regulation 18.6 of MARPOL Annex VI requires that the BDN to be kept on board the ship and to be readily available for inspection at all reasonable times. The regulation does not specify the form (physical hard copy or digital), but BDNs are predominantly saved and presented as a hard copy paper document.

Our proposal was for a Unified Interpretation to clarify that electronic BNDs are also acceptable. This principle was generally supported, but there was a lot of debate about how to move forward with this.

Our proposal for Unified Interpretation also mentioned “taking into account” relevant section of a FAL Circular with guidelines for the use of electronic certificates. This was added to alleviate concerns from some parties about the authenticity of digital BNDs. The reference to the FAL circular was, however, problematic for many delegates and created a long debate about how to avoid references to other IMO circulars or resolutions that could give the impression that the BDN is a certificate, or that an administration must approve the use of electronic BNDs.

At the same time, it was clear concerns about the authenticity of an electronic BND needed to be addressed. Several delegations mentioned the legal importance of BDNs for documentation purposes, and that BDNs will become increasingly important as part of the documentation supporting IMO policies to reduce GHG emissions from ships. Some delegations expressed concerns that developing a unified interpretation might not provide sufficient security and accountability guarantees.

This was debated a length first in plenary at PPR 10 and then in a working group. In the end, it was understood that the unified interpretation was only dealing with the current requirements under regulation 18.5 and 18.6 of MARPOL Annex VI, but should include text about how to ensure electronic BDNs would be tamper-proof.

After discussion in the working group, the delegations who had proposed the unified interpretation (United Kingdom, IBIA, IACS) were tasked with amending the text to address these concerns. We worked late and resolved these concerns by adapting relevant text from the FAL circular, while avoiding any references to ‘circular’ or ‘administration’ that may be misinterpreted. The next day, the working group, and subsequently PPR in plenary, agreed to our amended proposal for a Unified Interpretation.

The Unified Interpretation agreed at PPR 10 will be presented to the Marine Environment Protection Committee for its 80th session in July (MEPC 80) for approval as follows:

Applicability of the requirements for a bunker delivery note 

Regulation 18

Fuel oil availability and quality
2 In the annex to circular MEPC.1/Circ.795/Rev.7, it is proposed to add a new interpretation after paragraph 12.1 as follows:
“12.2 The Bunker Delivery Note (BDN) required by regulation 18.5 is acceptable in either hard copy or electronic format provided it contains at least the information specified in appendix V to MARPOL Annex VI and is retained and made available on board in accordance with regulation 18.6.
In addition, an electronic BDN should be protected from edits, modifications or revisions and authentication be possible by a verification method such as a tracking number, watermark, date and time stamp, QR code, GPS coordinates or other verification methods.”

IBIA is happy with this outcome and hopes MEPC 80 will approve the interpretation so the industry can have confidence in using electronic BDNs. There was talk about sending the proposal to FAL (the IMO’s Facilitation Committee) to amend the FAL Circular to include electronic BDNs, which would have meant a long delay in resolving the issue.

Related: 10th session of IMO Sub-Committee on pollution prevention and response held in London


Photo credit: International Bunker Industry Association
Published: 10 May, 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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