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SIBCON: Recent bunker contamination cases a ‘wakeup call’

04 Oct 2018

Recent bunker contamination cases experienced by several shipowners around the world is a “wakeup call" for the marine fuels industry, says the Managing Director, AMEA of Fuel testing and inspection agency Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS).

“Initial quality control is going to be needed and the industry will have to pay a cost for that,” Rahul Choudhuri told delegates at the Singapore International Bunkering Conference and Exhibition (SIBCON) on Wednesday when asked about fuel quality challenges heading into 2020.

“Fuel quality issues are global and they are no longer restricted to any given port. This year we issued 46 bunker alerts across 19 countries, which this is the highest number of countries we have seen in the last five years.”

According to Choudhuri, VPS has seen a wide variety of off-spec bunker cases which include high density, contamination, high sodium, excess sulphur, and aluminium silicon (cat fines) issuses in 2018.

“I think very specifically with distillates the incidents of low flash point have increased for the last five years. This is something the industry needs to be aware going forward, especially from the safety point of view.”

The industry also needs to move towards ISO 8217:2017 –  the latest marine fuel quality standards.

“It is a very strange situation if you have 70% of shipowners operators which say they are still using 2005 specs,” he notes.

“Something needs to be done here and I think the industry has to change if you want to take into account 2020 and the changes that come along with it.”

Moving forward, Choudhuri recommended bunker fuel buyers to not forget the basics such as proper sampling and documentation, “especially when we are seeing an increase in dispute cases.”

“A last point I would make is regarding this fuel contamination. Going ahead, the quality of crew and training on how they handle engines has to be improved. It shouldn’t be a case that the fuel is the problem all the time.”

Photo credit: Manifold Times
Published: 4 October, 2018

 

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