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VPS identifies new bunker fuel contamination at Houston

VPS detected presence of Dicyclopentadiene and associated isomers at significantly high levels in VLSFO bunker fuel deliveries in Houston; 11 vessels using this fuel have reported loss of power and propulsion.

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Marine fuels testing company VPS on Monday (10 July) said it has identified via its fuel testing services, a new marine fuel contamination issue in Houston. 

VPS detected the presence of Dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) and associated isomers at significantly high levels in VLSFO bunker fuel deliveries in Houston. These chemical contaminants were detected using in-house GC-MS (Gas Chromatography – Mass Spectrometer) analytical methodologies. VPS has issued a Bunker Alert to its customers referring to these fuel deliveries made by a single supplier during the months of March to May 2023. Problems associated with these bunkers occurred after this fuel was combusted several weeks after bunkering.

Eleven vessels using this fuel have now reported loss of power and subsequent loss of propulsion whilst at sea. These effects resulted from fuel leakage in the ICU (Injection Control Unit) units and fuel pumps not being able to develop the required fuel pressure. Both main and auxiliary engines were affected although failures to auxiliary engines were more commonly reported.

One VPS customer highlighted the issues they encountered when using this Houston VLSFO: the first sign of problems after changing over to this fuel was the failure of the fuel pump and fuel injectors of the auxiliary engines. All the three auxiliary engines subsequently faced the same issues and was unable to produce the required power resulting in a complete blackout and loss of propulsion. The auxiliary engine pumps exhibited significant leakage and the fuel injectors were ceased. Both, fuel pumps and fuel injectors required repeated replacement until no spares remained.

This customer also reported that this fuel had a significant impact on the purification system. It was noted that the purifiers could not remove the high cat fines that were present in the fuel under normal engine operating speed. To keep the purifier operational, main engines required running at low rpm than normal, to reduce the fuel consumption thereby reducing the purifier feed-rate.

Due to restrictions in power, the vessel had restricted manoeuvrability as they could not operate their thrusters. The vessel had to change to LSMGO (Low Sulphur Marine Gas Oil) to arrive safely to the port.

VPS identifies new bunker fuel contamination at Houston

DCPD’s are unsaturated chemical compounds which can polymerise and oxidise under certain conditions. However, the rate of this polymerisation process can be reduced by the presence of inhibitors that are typically found within fuel oil.

Should these compounds start polymerising, the fuel begins to exhibit a level of stickiness and become more viscous, making it difficult for moving components, such as fuel pump plungers and the fuel injector spindles to move freely. These effects cause damage to the fuel injection system. Over a period of time excessive sludge formation is likely to be experienced.

The DCPD compounds that were detected in this fuel ranged from 3,000 to 7,000 ppm (0.3-0.7%).

A number of vessels, had been pre-warned by VPS of the potential high-concentration DCPD contamination of their fuel, via a “Caution” result from the VPS Chemical Screening service, highlighting the value of this pre-burn service provided by VPS.

Photo credit: VPS
Published: 11 July, 2023

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Alternative Fuels

Platts proposes to launch Singapore bio-bunker fuels market-based assessment

Proposal is on the back of growing interest for blended bio-bunkers in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub, amid increasing pressure on the shipping sector to decarbonise.

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Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, on Tuesday (23 April) proposed to launch a new daily market-based delivered Singapore bio-bunker assessment, effective 1 August.

This proposal is on the back of growing interest for blended bio-bunkers in Singapore, the world's largest bunkering hub, amid increasing pressure on the shipping sector to decarbonise.

The new assessment would reflect marine fuel blend of biodiesel with low sulphur fuel oil. Platts would publish the Singapore bio-bunkers market-based assessment as a differential to Platts Marine Fuel 0.5% (AMFSA00), and as an outright value.

The assessment specifications would be as follows:

Platts proposes to launch Singapore bio-bunker fuels market-based assessment

Other delivery periods and volumes may be considered in the Platts Market on Close assessment process and normalised back to the above specifications.

Bio-bunkers stems must be incompliance with the EU's Renewable Energy Directive, or RED requirements, and meet sustainability requirements such as ISCC or RSB sustainability criterions.

Platts will not consider bio-bunkers that use palm oil as a bio-component.

International Organization for Standardization is revising the ISO 8217 standards to include additional requirements for blended bio-bunker. The assessment would reflect standards set in the document ISO 8217:2024 Petroleum products -- Fuels (class F) -- specifications of marine fuels, as well as standards set by Singapore's Maritime Port Authority on specifications of marine biofuels (WA 2:2022). Platts is seeking specific feedback on these standard requirements.

Platts is also seeking specific feedback on the reference density of blended bio-bunkers.

The assessment would be published on Platts Biofuels Alert (PBF2500), in the Bunkerwire Report, Bunkerwire Monthly, Biofuelscan report and Biomass-Based Diesel Report.

The new daily bio-bunkers assessment would be timestamped to 5.30 pm Singapore time and follow the Singapore publishing schedule.

Platts spot price assessments consider market information reported to Platts and published throughout the day, including firm bids and offers, transactions and indications of value. In the absence of observable spot market activity, Platts may consider other verifiable data reported. This information will be published as price heards.

At present, Platts publishes a daily cost-based B24 Singapore bio-bunkers assessment reflecting a ratio of 76% fuel oil based on Platts benchmark Marine Fuel 0.5% Bunker Dlvd Spore $/mt assessment (MFSPD00) and 24% used cooking oil methyl ester based on the Platts UCOME FOB Straits $/mt assessment (UCFCB00). This calculated price assessment will continue to be published alongside the proposed new assessment and will be renamed “Platts B24 calculated bio-bunker Singapore.”

Related: Platts launches new blended bio-bunkers assessment in Singapore

 

Photo credit: Justin Lim on Unsplash
Published: 25 April 2024

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Winding up

Singapore: Annual general meetings scheduled for Xihe Holdings subsidiaries

Annual general meetings will be held between 8 to 9 May for Hua Zhong Shipping, Dong Ya Tankers, Dong Sheng Tankers and Da Xin Tankers to receive an update on firms’ liquidation.

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Several notices were published on the Government Gazette on Tuesday (23 April) regarding the annual general meetings to be held between 8 to 9 May for Xihe Holdings subsidiaries Hua Zhong Shipping, Dong Ya Tankers, Dong Sheng Tankers and Da Xin Tankers. 

Annual general meetings for Hua Zhong Shipping are to be held on 8 May at the following times:

For the company: 2pm
For the creditors: 3pm

Annual general meetings for Dong Ya Tankers are to be held on 9 May at the following times:

For the company: 10am
For the creditors: 11am

Annual general meetings for Dong Sheng Tankers are to be held on 9 May at the following times:

For the company: 2pm

Annual general meetings for Da Xin Tankers are to be held on 8 May at the following times:

For the company: 10am
For the creditors: 11am

The agenda for all the meetings are:

  1. To receive an update on the liquidation.
  2. To receive an account of the Liquidators’ acts and dealings, and of the conduct of the winding up

The following are the details of the liquidator:

Ho May Kee
Liquidator
c/o 8 Marina View
#40-04/05 Asia Square Tower 1
Singapore 018960

Xihe Holdings Pte Ltd and its subsidiaries are owned by the Lim family, who are also the owners of the embattled Hin Leong Trading.

Related: Singapore: Da Xin Tankers, Dong Ya Tankers, Hua Zhong Shipping to be wound up
Related: Singapore: Annual general meetings scheduled for Xihe Holdings subsidiaries

 

Photo credit: Jo_Johnston from Pixabay
Published: 25 April 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Peninsula adds tanker “Aalborg” to supply bio bunker fuel in Port of Barcelona

Chemical tanker is capable of supplying B100, in contrast to traditional fuel barges that cannot exceed 25% bio component; also has ability to blend multiple bio feedstocks and traditional fuels on board.

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Peninsula adds tanker “Aalborg” to supply bio bunker fuel in Port of Barcelona

Marine fuel supplier Peninsula on Wednesday (24 April) announced the introduction of the Aalborg, an IMO II chemical tanker dedicated to sustainable fuel distribution in the Western Mediterranean. 

The Aalborg is capable of supplying 100% biofuels (B100), in contrast to traditional fuel barges that cannot exceed 25% bio component.  

The vessel supplies FAME (Fatty Acid Methyl Esters) produced from vegetable oils and allows for neutral emissions (depending on the origin of these vegetable oils) thereby reducing a receiving vessel’s carbon footprint. 

The Aalborg will play a pivotal role in the Port of Barcelona's ongoing commitment to promoting cleaner fuel initiatives across the region.

The vessel’s ability to blend multiple bio feedstocks and traditional fuels on board, together with a certificate detailing the bio component percentage, allows ship owners to comply with impending Fuel EU Maritime regulation using the same engine.

“The importance of having a biofuel supply vessel permitted to supply up to 100% bio component, will provide Port of Barcelona users with a solution to decarbonise their activity and to fully comply with EU regulations,” explained Lluís Salvadó, president of the Port of Barcelona.

“The Port of Barcelona, as part of its Energy Transition Plan, is committed to transition and alternative fuels such as LNG, green methanol or green ammonia, as well as biofuels, which will help to reduce the maritime sector’s carbon footprint.”

Alejandro Morales Moreno, Supply Manager at Peninsula, emphasised the collaborative efforts between Peninsula and the Port of Barcelona, highlighting a shared vision for emissions reduction.

"The addition of the Aalborg creates a meaningful, new decarbonisation solution for our customers and we’re grateful to the Port Authority for facilitating its deployment in Barcelona,” he said.

 

Photo credit: Peninsula
Published: 25 April 2024

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