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INTERTANKO urges members to pay attention to fuel quality

27 Aug 2019

Singapore bunkering publication Manifold Times was present at the ‘Low Sulphur Bunker Fuel 2020: Assessing Readiness of Malaysian Ports to Become Leading Bunkering Hub’ conference held in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (20 August):

Shipping association INTERTANKO is recommending the maritime industry to focus on fuel quality issues moving forward into IMO 2020, says its Environmental Manager & Assistant Regional Manager Asia-Pacific.

Elfian Harun was giving a speech at the ‘Low Sulphur Bunker Fuel 2020: Assessing Readiness of Malaysian Ports to Become Leading Bunkering Hub’ conference in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday (20 August) when he brought up several points regarding marine fuels heading into IMO 2020.

“INTERTANKO is also paying particular attention to fuel quality,” he told delegates.

“The industry is all too aware that poor quality fuel can damage engines and even cause black outs in serious cases. Such situations can give rise to navigational safety hazards putting the lives of the crew at risk and the for tankers, the possibility of a serious pollution incident.

“The 2020 sulphur regulations were designed on the assumption that ship will use the ISO 8217:2017 specifications.”

Regarding commercial protection from contaminated marine fuels, Harun strongly encouraged buyers to insist on the inclusion of Regulation 18 of MARPOL Annex VI and not to be too reliant on Clause 5 of the ISO 8217:2017 edition; as the former is part of an IMO regulation while the latter an industry specification on standards.

Harun also proposes stakeholders to be familiar with changes in sampling as there are now three types of sampling that could be taken from a vessel, while not forgetting familiarisation with sulphur verification procedures.

“The draft Joint Industry Guidance document recommends for supplier to ensure that the fuel delivered meets the vessels’ requirements. It also advocates for sampling to take place at each point of custody transfer throughout the supply chain,” he says.

“Note the difference on the approach taken for MARPOL delivered samples (i.e. 95% confidence limit apply up to max of 0.50%) and in-use fuel sample (i.e. 95% confidence limit + max limit of 0.50% does not apply).”

As part of IMO 2020 preparations, Harun suggests shipowners should start working with engine manufacturers to ensure compliant bunker fuels meeting engine requirements.

Stakeholders should also decide if further treatment of compliant fuels or proactive on board fuel management will be required.

A clear understanding of port State Control guidelines, especially on fuel non-availability and instances where ships could be detained, and guidance over by IMO for failure of scrubber systems are recommended.

“Preparation is very important. If you have not started your preparation now, good luck!” notes Harun.

“You need to know your vessels’ trading pattern and whether the ports that they call or en-route are able to supply fuel that meets your specifications.

“Accurate record keeping and documentation is very important.

“Know your regulatory options. Take note that Commercial contracts would not override regulatory requirements.

“Familiarise yourself with all amendments, guidelines, best practices and circulars that have been/ will be issued by IMO. Ignorance is not an excuse.”

The ‘Low Sulphur Bunker Fuel 2020: Assessing Readiness of Malaysian Ports to Become Leading Bunkering Hub’ conference is hosted by Port Klang and organised by the Maritime Institute of Malaysia.

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 27 August, 2019


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