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IMO 2020

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

Addresses ‘several assertions’ ISO 8217:2017 does not encompass 0.50% sulphur marine fuel oils.




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The following statement written by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) addresses its position on 0.50% sulphur marine fuel oils, while introducing a Publicly Available Specification, a test program to investigate whether current test methods for marine fuel stability are enough, and the development of a guidance for crew and ship operators for safe onboard handling of future 0.50 % S max. fuel oil blends:

Lately, several assertions have been made that ISO 8217:2017 does not encompass future max. 0.50% sulphur marine fuel oils and these to potentially cause severe safety issues. As these claims create quite some anxiety in the industry, the ISO working group, whilst respecting the anxiety raised, would like to reassure the industry that the General requirements of ISO 8217:2017 along with the characteristics included in Table 1 and 2 of ISO 8217: 2017 cover 2020 0.50% max. sulphur fuels in the same way as they cover today’s fuels including the 0.10% max. sulphur fuels. ISO 8217 reflects on the technical requirements for machinery operations and considers the aspects of safety, environment, onboard handling (storage and cleaning) and combustion of not only today’s fuels but also of the anticipated 0.50% max. sulphur fuels of 2020, irrespective of the sulphur content of the fuel oils.

Flashpoint (in accordance with SOLAS requirements), stability and cold flow are key fuel characteristics that must be addressed for all fuel oils delivered. The limits of these characteristics as set down in the ordering specification given by the purchaser, which should reference the ISO 8217 specification, when not met, may indeed result in operational problems with possible safety implications in the severest of cases.

There is a specific concern on the fuel oil blends as modelled by CE Delft in the IMO fuel oil availability study, containing H-oil bottoms and the potential risk of obtaining unstable fuels if not properly blended. As with today’s fuels, all marine fuels delivered to ships shall be stable and meet the ISO 8217 total sediment potential requirement of 0.10 % maximum, which provides the criteria to be met for fuel oil stability.

The consequences of fuel instability such as filter clogging and centrifuges blocking are well-known and it is to be expected that fuel oil blenders and suppliers must take careful note of these consequences ensuring this fuel characteristic is not overlooked and that the fuel is delivered to the ship as a homogenous and stable product.

Also, as fuel oil blend formulations are expected to vary widely across the regions ships will, as they do today, have to consider the risk of incompatibility when using consecutive fuels from different ports and regions. Compatibility between different fuels cannot be guaranteed by the suppliers and it falls on the competency of the crew to manage this. 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 commingling of fuel oils with bunker segregation being always the first option and are encouraged to evaluate further their segregation policy.

The ISO 8217 working group has initiated the development of a Publicly Available Specification (PAS) “Considerations for fuel suppliers and users regarding marine fuel quality in view of the implementation of maximum 0.50 % S in 2020” in response to the IMO request to consider the framework of ISO 8217 with a view to ensuring consistency between the relevant ISO standards on marine fuel oils and the implementation of the 0.50 % S max. limit. Given that these 0.50% max. sulphur fuel oils will be fully capable of being categorised within the existing ISO 8217 standard, the PAS will provide guidance as to the application of the existing ISO 8217 standard to such fuel oils. Furthermore, at this time no new characteristic is currently being considered for inclusion.

Regarding the stability of fuel oils, ISO 8217 working group has initiated a test program to investigate whether test methods currently not yet widely used for marine fuel stability testing, can provide further and consistent information on the stability and potential instability of a wide range of different fuel blend formulations (or mixtures thereof) that are anticipated to likely represent what will be available in the market from late 2019.

The ISO 8217 working group is also working closely with CIMAC and will contribute to the initiative taken by OCIMF and IPIECA to develop a guidance document to bring awareness to, and to assist crew and ship operators in the safe onboard handling of future 0.50 % S max. fuel oil blends, considering their potential impact on operational aspects.

Although concern has been raised that the 0.50% max. sulphur fuels will only be introduced later in 2019, it is clear from the fuel testing agency statistics that the share of 0.50% max. sulphur fuels in the market is already growing, all of which are meeting the requirements of ISO 8217.

Photo credit: International Maritime Organization
Published: 18 July, 2018


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Port & Regulatory

X-Press Feeders inks MoU with six European ports for green shipping corridors

Firm signed a MoU with Ports of Antwerp Bruges, Tallinn, Helsinki, HaminaKotka, Freeport of Riga and Klaipeda Port to develop infrastructure for provision and bunkering of alternative bunker fuels, among others.





X-Press Feeders inks MoU with six European ports for green shipping corridors

Singapore-based global maritime container shipping company X-Press Feeders on Friday (5 April) signed of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with six European ports: Port of Antwerp Bruges (Belgium), Port of Tallinn (Estonia), Port of Helsinki (Finland), Port of HaminaKotka (Finland), Freeport of Riga (Latvia) and Klaipeda Port (Lithuania).

This landmark agreement signifies a joint commitment to accelerate the establishment of green shipping corridors and the broader decarbonisation of the marine sector in Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea. Through this MOU, X-Press Feeders and the participating ports will pool resources and expertise to develop and implement sustainable practices for maritime operations.

Under the MOU:

  • Parties will work together to further develop infrastructure for the provision and bunkering of alternative fuels such as green methanol,
  • Encourage the development of supply chains for fuel that are zero or near to zero in terms of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Provide further training programs for port workers and seafarers with regards to the handling of alternative fuels
  • Leverage digital platforms to enhance port call optimisation
  • Parties will have regular meetings to update and discuss progress on actions for further developing green shipping corridors.

The MOU underscores the collective dedication to broader decarbonisation efforts within the maritime sector.

The collaboration between the parties will begin with the establishment of these two shipping routes:

  • Green Baltic X-PRESS (GBX): Rotterdam > Antwerp Bruges > Klaipeda > Riga > Rotterdam
  • Green Finland X-PRESS (GFX): Rotterdam > Antwerp Bruges > Helsinki > Tallinn > HaminaKotka > Rotterdam

These services are scheduled to commence in Q3 2024, marking a significant step towards more environmentally sustainable shipping services in Europe. This development is significant as these will be the very first scheduled feeder routes in Europe powered by green methanol, an alternative fuel that produces at least 60% less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional marine fuel.

X-Press Feeders’ green methanol is sourced from fuel supplier OCI Global. The green methanol is made from green hydrogen and the decomposition of organic matter, such as waste and residues. 

OCI’s green methanol is independently certified by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) Association headquartered in Germany. The ISCC system promotes and verifies the sustainable production of biomass, circular and bio-based materials and renewables.

X-Press Feeders’ Chief Operating Officer, Francis Goh, said: “By working together – X-Press Feeders and the six partner ports – aim to efficiently implement green shipping corridors and lead the maritime industry in sustainability. We chose the Nordic and Baltic states as the first markets to deploy our green methanol powered vessels because we found the ports and our customers in these markets to be very receptive.”

“This MoU represents a significant milestone in our commitment to a sustainable future for the maritime industry. By collaborating with these leading European ports, we can collectively drive the adoption of green technologies that accelerate the decarbonisation of our industry.”

Vladas Motiejūnas, Harbor Master of the Port of Klaipėda, said: “In recent years, Klaipeda Port has taken significant strides towards sustainability. This year marks the commencement of construction for green hydrogen production and refuelling stations at the port, along with the implementation of shore-side power supply (OPS) stations for roll-on/roll-off ferries.”

“Furthermore, Klaipeda Port proudly enters 2024 with the Port Environmental Review System (PERS) certification, underscoring our commitment to environmental stewardship. Already, methanol bunkering operations are available at Klaipeda Port.”

“The integration of Klaipeda Port into environmentally sustainable shipping services by X-Press Feeders is a testament to our unwavering dedication to fostering a greener port.”


Photo credit: X-Press Feeders
Published: 8 April 2024

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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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