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North P&I issues update on China ECA

From 1st October 2018 vessels are to use 0.5% sulphur fuel before entering Yangtze River Delta ECA, different from current practise.




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The North of England P&I Association Limited on Friday released an update regarding the early implementation of fuel sulphur regulations at the Yangtze River Delta Emission Control Area (ECA) in China:

The Maritime Safety Administrations (MSA) of Shanghai and Zhejiang have issued notices on the requirements to use fuel with 0.5% maximum sulphur content at all times within the Yangtze River Delta emission control area.

Local correspondents Huatai - who have issued circular PNI 1814 - advise that from 1st October 2018 vessels are to use fuel with sulphur content of no more than 0.5% m/m when they enter into the emission control area (ECA) and when at any berth or anchorage. This means that vessels must change over onto compliant fuel in sufficient time prior to entering the Yangtze River Delta ECA.

Currently, vessels at berth in any port within this ECA should use fuel with a maximum sulphur content of 0.5% – except one hour after arrival and one hour before departure. The changes in requirements where complaint fuel must be used at all times within the ECA had not been expected to enter into force until 1 January 2019.

It is understood that vessels connecting to shore power receiving facilities are exempted from this requirement. Vessels may also use exhaust gas cleaning systems (scrubbers) to satisfy the new emission control requirements.

Vessels will need to apply in advance to the appropriate regional MSA for any exemptions on using non-compliant fuel.

We understand the situation in the Bohai Bay ECA and Pearl River Delta ECA remains unchanged and the requirement to use compliant fuel at all times within these ECAs will take effect on 1 January 2019.

Preparing for the Switch - Have a Plan
There are notable risks when changing over from ‘high sulphur’ heavy fuels to ‘low sulphur’ distillates and vice versa when at sea. It is strongly recommended that Members review and update their vessels’ procedures for this task.

Think about:

  • Heavy fuel oil requires heating whereas distillates such as marine gas oil generally do not. It is important to control the rate of temperature change when changing between these fuels. 
  • Ensure fuel oil spill returns from engines and other equipment are properly routed to avoid contamination of tanks.
  • Changeover procedures must be workable and practical.
  • Crew are trained and practice fuel changeovers - they fully understand the process and consequences of getting it wrong.
  • When there are two fuels mixing in the supply line, there may be compatibility issues which can lead to the formation of sludge and block the pipework. It is advisable to carry out compatibility tests between the different fuels on board before use.
  • There may be a need to undertake modifications to the vessels and its systems, such as fuel treatment arrangements. There will be a need for adequate storage capacity for the various grades of fuel and the suitability of the tanks must be assessed, such as protection from heat sources.
  • Consider sending distillate bunker samples for laboratory testing and if operating in cold climates, know the cold flow characteristics of the fuel. Distillates can be adversely affected by the formation of wax in cold weather conditions and the fuel specification should be checked for cloud point and cold filter plugging point.
  • If possible, carry out the changeover operations away from busy traffic areas and coastal areas.

Source: North of England P&I Association Limited
Published: 3 September, 2018


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Argus Media: B30-MGO blend premium to MGO narrows to seven-month low

Premium of marine biodiesel with 30pc advanced Fame and 70pc marine gasoil (MGO) in ARA on a dob basis to conventional MGO narrowed to $4.92/t on 13 September, its lowest since February.





RESIZED Argus media

The premium of marine biodiesel with 30pc advanced fatty acid methyl ester (Fame) and 70pc marine gasoil (MGO) in ARA on a dob basis to conventional MGO narrowed to $4.92/t on 13 September, its lowest since February.

14 September 2023

Marine biodiesel blends with MGO as the conventional fuel component may gain traction ahead of the EU emissions trading system (ETS) scheme which begins next year. Shipowners looking to minimise their ETS costs may turn to the marine biodiesel blend. Argus calculations showed that a B30 blend comprising Fame and MGO was assessed at a $79.95/t discount to conventional MGO when CO2 ETS costs are factored in, the lowest recorded since 1 February.

Some participants have told Argus that it may become more cost-efficient to utilise marine biodiesel blends with MGO for vessels without scrubbers in Emission Control Areas (ECA). ECA zones limit the sulphur content of fuels vessels can burn to 0.1pc, with the Mediterranean being the latest addition to ECA zones globally. Market participants reported sufficient supply of the B30 MGO blend in ARA. But some noted tighter prompt availability of the blended product, reporting a required notice period of 7-10 days for delivery by barge.

Conventional dob MGO prices in ARA averaged an outright price of $932.28/t so far this month, a $47/t increase on August's average. At this level, MGO was at its highest monthly average since November 2022. MGO values firmed in recent sessions on the back of tight gasoil supply in the region. Tighter gasoil supply may incentivise refiners to redirect distillate blendstocks away from the MGO pool towards diesel products that generally command a higher premium. Market participants have also reported tightening availability of MGO in recent sessions because of lower supplies of blending components at the hub.

By Hussein Al-Khalisy

Photo credit and source: Argus Media
Published: 18 September, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

Argus releases paper on biofuels bunker demand from EU ships without scrubbers to rise in 2024

Biofuel demand for bunkering from vessels without scrubbers could increase in northwest Europe when ships travelling in EU territorial waters will have to pay for CO2 emissions starting 2024.





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Argus Media on Thursday (11 May) released a white paper titled NW Europe biofuels bunker demand from ships without scrubbers to rise in 2024 on biofuel demand from vessels without scrubbers in EU territorial waters when they will have to pay for their CO2 emissions starting next year.

Argus said as a result of the move, demand for biofuels for bunkering from vessels without scrubbers could increase in northwest Europe. By contrast, vessels with scrubbers could continue to burn high-sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) in the region.

Ships operating in the EU territorial waters will have to pay for 40pc of their CO2-equivalent emissions from 2024, 70pc from 2025, and 100pc from 2026.

It said vessels travelling in the northwest Europe emission control areas (ECA) with no scrubbers could switch from burning MGO to B100 in 2024. The added CO2 emissions cost could drive the price of MGO at a premium to B100.

By contrast, vessels travelling in the northwest Europe ECA, with installed scrubbers, could continue to burn HSFO in 2024.

The whitepaper also highlights biofuel for bunkering subsidies in Rotterdam as well as prices for Singapore B24 biofuel for bunkering being priced at a premium to Rotterdam B30 and B20.

Note: The full Argus Media whitepaper titled NW Europe biofuels bunker demand from ships without scrubbers to rise in 2024 can be found here.


Photo credit: Argus Media
Published: 12 May, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

Poland’s first LNG-fuelled RoPax vessels to utilise Wärtsilä solutions

The ships, currently constructed at Remontowa, will be operated by ferry companies Unity Line and Polferries and run entirely on bio-LNG by 2025.





Polish RoPax vessels will operate on LNG fuel with Wartsila 31DF dual fuel engines

The technology group Wärtsilä has been contracted by Remontowa shipyard in Poland to supply engines, fuel storage and supply systems for three new RoPax vessels, the first LNG-fuelled RoPax vessels to be built for the Polish maritime sector, it said on Tuesday (15 February).

The ships will be operated by ferry companies Unity Line and Polferries. The contract with Wärtsilä was signed in January 2022.

The vessels will each operate with four highly efficient Wärtsilä 31DF dual-fuel engines. The LNG-fuelled engines can use bio-LNG, either on its own or blended with conventional LNG, to further reduce their carbon footprint. The operators intend to run the vessels entirely on bio-LNG by 2025.

The efficiency of the Wärtsilä 31DF engine was a key consideration in the award of this contract. The diesel version of the engine has been recognised by Guinness World Records as being the world’s most efficient 4-stroke diesel engine. Wärtsilä will also deliver its LNGPac fuel storage, supply, and control system.

“High efficiency and sustainability are essential in today’s operating environment, especially in the Baltic Sea which is an Emissions Control Area,” says Grzegorz Wardzyński, Technical Director of Polsteam, the parent company of Unity Line.

“The Wärtsilä 31 engine represents the latest engine technology available and this, coupled with Wärtsilä’s vast experience in LNG solutions, made the choice easy for us.”

“Decarbonisation is a front and centre issue for the maritime sector, and this focus is reflected in the choice of the Wärtsilä engines for these ferries,” adds Matthias Becker, General Manager, Sales, Wärtsilä Marine Power.

“Optimal engine performance is essential in maximising fuel efficiency and minimising exhaust emissions. These new vessels will become an important part of Poland’s transport infrastructure, and we are proud to be a partner to this project.”

The vessels will have an overall length of 195 metres and will be capable of carrying 400 passengers, with 4,100 lane metres for vehicles. They will operate between Swinoujscie in Poland and the Swedish ports of Ystad and Trelleborg.


Photo credit: Wärtsilä
Published: 16 February, 2022

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