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International Safety@Sea interview: MPA shares what it means to conduct bunkering operations in the ‘new norm’

Captain Daknash Ganasen, Senior Director (Operations & Marine Services), MPA, provides direction on what should players do when providing bunker fuel to a COVID-19 infected ship, and more.




Singapore bunker tankers

Captain Daknash Ganasen, Senior Director (Operations & Marine Services), Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) recently spent time with Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times to share what it means to conduct marine refuelling operations in the era of the ‘new normal’ during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The following interview is conducted as part of event coverage for the MPA’s International Safety@Sea Webinar Series:

Do you think the current recommendations by the port authority for bunker tanker crew and bunker surveyors are enough? Also, what additional measures can they adopt on top of the MPA recommendations to take health and safety to the next level?

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) has been monitoring local and overseas developments closely. Through port marine notices, MPA has proactively advised the maritime community, including bunkering companies, on the precautionary measures that the industry should adopt. In August this year, MPA issued a bunkering notice to bunker suppliers, craft operators and surveying companies to update them on a set of precautionary measures to minimise the risk of contracting COVID-19 during bunkering operations in the Port of Singapore. These precautionary measures include wearing surgical masks, gloves and face shields, maintaining safe distance and minimising exposure to enclosed environments. MPA also encouraged the implementation of contactless bunkering operations whenever possible.

All parties will have to remain vigilant and abide by the precautionary measures at all times to keep themselves safe and healthy, while ensuring that bunkering operations in Singapore continue to be reliable, efficient and transparent.

If a bunker tanker crew and bunker surveyor is suspected to be in contact with a COVID-19 infected vessel, what should they do?

In addition to informing his company/employer, the individual should also notify the Port Health Office and seek its advice. In the event of a confirmed case, Singapore’s Ministry of Health (MOH) conducts contact tracing to identify the close contacts of COVID-19 confirmed patients. Close contacts will be advised by MOH officials on the measures they should take.

MPA also recommends that the master of the vessel disinfects common areas and rooms in the vessel based on the Interim Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection of Areas Exposed to Confirmed Case(s) of COVID-19 in Non-Healthcare Commercial Premises prepared by the National Environment Agency.

How safe is it to provide marine fuel to a COVID-19 infected vessel? What precautions should a bunker supplier take if they know the vessel has infected crew on board?

Visiting ships calling at the Port of Singapore are required to submit a Medical Declaration of Health 24 hours prior to arrival and notify the Port Health Office of any confirmed/suspected COVID-19 cases aboard their ships. Marine services will continue to be provided to ships with identified cases of confirmed/suspected COVID-19 aboard. However, contactless operations will have to be implemented for the provision of these services in order to mitigate the risk of importing COVID-19 into Singapore.

How long do you expect such COVID-19 enhanced precautions for the maritime sector to last? Is this the new norm for the maritime sector moving forward?

MPA is closely monitoring the global COVID-19 pandemic, together with other government agencies. We will take guidance from MOH and the Ministry of Manpower on the precautionary measures to be adopted at workplaces.

What advise can you give to companies to handle crew stuck onboard bunker tankers for an extended period of time?

MPA recognises the importance of crew change to safeguard the health and well-being of crew members. We have worked with the industry to put in place a set of procedures to ensure that crew change can be safely conducted in the Port of Singapore with measures implemented to mitigate possible COVID-19 importation risks.  We have been facilitating crew changes for the harbour craft sector, which include crew members aboard bunker tankers, since Circuit Breaker. In reducing the risks of importing COVID-19 cases, the implementation of precautionary measures may result in crew change delays. MPA encourages companies to engage their crew regularly to apprise them of the situation and to seek their understanding during these unprecedented times.


Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 1 December, 2020

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Fuel Testing

Singapore: CTI-Maritec shares testing protocols ahead of mandatory enhanced bunker fuel checks

In light of mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, CTI-Maritec shares recommendations for fuel testing protocols, primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore.





Louis Reed from Unsplash

With mandatory enhanced checks for marine fuel delivered at Singapore port coming into effect on 1 June, bunker fuel testing and marine surveying business Maritec Pte Ltd (CTI-Maritec) has published a newsletter providing recommendations on vital pre-emptive fuel testing measures vessels should be taking as part of their routine fuel testing and also recommendations on optimal testing options available when deep-dive analysis is required to determine a root cause: 


On 8 February 2024 the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) issued a Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024 regarding the implementation of enhanced testing parameters for marine fuel batches intended to be delivered as bunkers in the Port of Singapore in addition to the existing quality assurance measures.

In accordance with the MPA’s Port Marine Circular No 3 of 2024, from 1 June 2024 onwards, bunker suppliers in the Port of Singapore must ensure that:

  • Residual & Bio-residual bunker fuel do not contain Chlorinated Organic Compounds (COC) above 50mg/kg and are free from inorganic acids.
  • COC must be tested using the EN 14077 accredited test method and shall be reported in the “Certificate of Quality” (COQ) provided to receiving vessels.
  • Inorganic acids must use the ASTM D664 accredited test method as prescribed in ISO 8217 and the Strong Acid Number (SAN) (in addition to the Total Acid Number (TAN) shall be reported in the COQ (i.e. SAN = 0) provided to receiving vessels. For distillate / bio-distillate bunker marine fuel batches, SAN must be tested as per ASTM D664 test method and reported in the COQ.
  • Residual marine fuels are free from polystyrene, polypropylene & polymethacrylate. These can be tested by filtration, microscopic examination, & Fourier-Transform Infrared spectroscopy analysis.

Testing Recommendations in line with MPA Enhanced Parameters to Protect Your Vessels:

In view of the above, CTI-Maritec recommends fuel testing protocols as depicted in the chart below (as routine pre-emptive measures and/or for deep dive requirements to detect the root cause) to help safeguard vessel health.

Our recommendations are primarily focused at COCs and SAN detection for bunker supply in Singapore, while recommendations for testing Polymers are advised for requirements of reported problem cases or when highly abnormal GCMS findings of chemical compounds like Styrene, DCPD and Indene are detected.

COC & SAN GCMS testing Packages A to E

Related: Singapore: CTI-Maritec publishes whitepaper on upcoming mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: Marine fuel quality testing agencies applaud move for mandatory enhanced bunker fuel tests
Related: Singapore: MPA tightens testing parameters to reduce contaminated bunker fuels
Related: MPA: Glencore and PetroChina supplied contaminated bunkers to about 200 ships in the Port of Singapore


Photo credit: Louis Reed from Unsplash
Published: 29 May 2024

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VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Firm was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol bunker fuel delivery to “Eco Maestro” in Singapore.





VPS conducts assessment on first SIMOPS methanol bunkering op in Singapore

Marine fuels testing company VPS on Tuesday (28 May) said it was appointed by OCI Methanol Europe, part of the OCI Global Group, to conduct a quantity and quality assessment of a methanol fuel delivery to Eco Maestro in Singapore.

Captain Rahul Choudhuri, President Strategic Partnerships, VPS, said VPS survey experts Rafael Theseira and Muhd Nazmi Abdul Rahim were at hand during the methanol bunkering to ensure the 300 metric tonnes of methanol transfer was carried out smoothly, having been involved in the first methanol bunkering a year ago. 

Manifold Times recently reported X-Press Feeders, Global Energy Trading Pte Ltd (GET), and PSA Singapore (PSA) successfully completing the first simultaneous methanol bunkering and cargo operation (SIMOPS) in Singapore.

A X-Press Feeder container vessel, Eco Maestro, on its maiden voyage from Asia to Europe was successfully refuelled with close to 300 mt of bio-methanol by GET, a MPA licensed bunker supplier, using MT KARA

The ISCC-certified bio-methanol used for the SIMOPS was produced by green methanol producer OCI Global and supplied via GET, a ISCC-certified supplier.

Captain Choudhuri said the role of the marine, petroleum or bunker surveyor has evolved over the years in shipping and maritime affairs, but the principles have not - and that is to provide independent assessment of the quality and quantity of the product transfer. 

“This may seem obvious but this quality and quantity control is crucial to avoid commercial discrepancies, shortages or fraud,” he said.

“Safety training is critical and we have been on top of this having completed the required MPA fire-fighting course and the IBIA Methanol training course. We will work more with the Singapore Maritime Academy for trainings in future,” he added.

In August last year, Singapore-headquartered independent common carrier X-Press Feeders launched its first ever dual-fuel vessel Eco Maestro in China.

Manifold Times previously reported VPS stating it was the first company to complete a methanol bunker quantity survey (BQS) operation in Singapore on 27 July last year.

VPS was appointed by Maersk and Hong Lam Marine Pte Ltd, to undertake the very first bunker quantity survey (BQS) of a methanol fuel delivery, supplied by Hong Lam to the Maersk vessel on its maiden voyage to Europe. 

Related: First SIMOPS methanol bunkering operation completed in Singapore
Related: VPS completes quantity survey on Singapore’s first methanol bunkering op
Related: Singapore bunkering sector enters milestone with first methanol marine refuelling op
Related: X-Press Feeders launches its first methanol dual-fuel vessel “Eco Maestro” in China


Photo credit: VPS
Published: 29 May 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor; Gasum’s bunker vessels “Coralius”, “Kairos” and “Coral Energy” will be used for the bunkering operations.





Gasum and Equinor ink continuation of long-term LNG bunkering agreement

Nordic liquefied natural gas (LNG) bunker supplier Gasum on Tuesday (28 May) said it signed a long-term contract with Norway-based global energy company Equinor whereby Gasum continues to supply LNG to Equinor’s dual-fuel chartered fleet of vessels. 

The agreement builds on the success of the previous contract Gasum has had with Equinor. Gasum’s bunker vessels Coralius, Kairos and Coral Energy will be used for the bunkering operations.

The agreement also includes additional support services such as cooling down and gassing up, which has also been a part of Gasum’s previous collaboration with Equinor. 

Gasum has organised three separate LNG cool down operations for Equinor in Skagen so far this year.

Both Gasum and Equinor have committed to sustainability goals to enable a cleaner energy future. Equinor’s ambition is to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

Using LNG in maritime transport means complete removal of sulfur oxides (SOx) and particles, and reduction of nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions of up to 85 percent as well as a reduction in CO2 emissions by at least 20%. LNG is interchangeable with liquefied biogas (LBG/bio-LNG), which reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 90% compared to conventional fuel such as marine gasoil (MGO).

With LNG and bio-LNG the maritime industry can reduce emissions already today, instead of waiting for future solutions. Gasum’s strategic goal is to bring yearly seven terawatt hours (7 TWh) of renewable gas to market by 2027. Achieving this goal would mean combined carbon dioxide reduction of 1.8 million tons per year for Gasum’s customers.

Related: Equinor Energy AS extends LNG bunkering agreement with Gasum
Related: Gasum expands LNG bunkering business to ARA region through partnership with Equinor


Photo credit: Gasum
Published: 29 May 2024

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