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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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Singapore: EPS orders ammonia, LNG dual-fuel vessels from China

EPS signed one contract for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International.






Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping (EPS) on Wednesday (28 February) said it signed two new contract orders in a signing ceremony in Shanghai, one for a series of ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers with CSSC Beihai Shipbuilding and another for a series of LNG dual-fuel oil tankers with CSSC Guangzhou Shipbuilding International. 

The contracts signed cover four 210,000 dwt ammonia dual-fuel bulk carriers and two 111,000 dwt LNG dual-fuel LR2 oil tankers, expanding our fleet of green vessels on water. 

“These are pivotal for EPS, testament to our continued commitment towards the decarbonisation of shipping,” EPS said in a social media post.

Manifold Times recently reported EPS signing a contract for its first ever wind-assisted propulsion system, partnering with bound4blue to install three 22-metre eSAILs® onboard the Pacific Sentinel

The turnkey ‘suction sail’ technology, which drags air across an aerodynamic surface to generate exceptional propulsive efficiency, will be fitted later this year, helping the 183-metre, 50,000 DWT oil and chemical tanker reduce overall energy consumption by approximately 10%, depending on vessel routing.

Related: Singapore: EPS orders its first wind-assisted propulsion system for tanker


Photo credit: Eastern Pacific Shipping
Published: 1 March 2024

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LNG Bunkering

Malaysia: Port of Tanjung Pelepas completes first LNG bunkering operation

Landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs containership operated by French shipping giant CMA CGM.






Port of Tanjung Pelepas Sdn Bhd (PTP), a joint venture between MMC Group and APM Terminals, on Wednesday (28 February) announced a significant milestone with the successful completion of its first Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) bunkering operation. 

The landmark event involved the CMA CGM Monaco, a 14,024 TEUs (Twenty-foot Equivalent Units) capacity containership operated by French shipping giant, CMA CGM.

Tan Sri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh, Chairman of PTP in a statement remarked this latest milestone demonstrates PTP’s commitment to continuously enhance its competitive advantages in an increasingly competitive global market.

“The successful completion of our first LNG bunkering operation also underscores our unwavering commitment to sustainability and environmental leadership. We are proud to partner with Petronas Trading Corporation Sendirian Berhad (PETCO) and CMA CGM on this initiative and showcase PTP’s capabilities as a leading facilitator of clean and efficient maritime operations.”

“This milestone paves the way for further growth in LNG bunkering at PTP, contributing significantly to the decarbonisation of the maritime industry.”

Commenting on this achievement, Mark Hardiman, Chief Executive Officer of PTP stated this latest milestone further highlights PTP’s position as the largest transshipment hub terminal in Malaysia.

“In preparation for the LNG bunkering operation, PTP worked closely since March 2022 with PETCO and CMA CGM, as well as with various other related government agencies to organise table-top exercises (TTX) and workshops, before carrying out the deployment exercise.”

“The success of the bunkering operation is a result of the seamless collaboration and preparations involving rigorous safety procedures through in-depth operational and risk assessments, modelling, and validation. We thank PETCO, CMA CGM all other involved parties for their joint efforts in operationalising the bunkering capability and we welcome partners to work with us to accelerate maritime decarbonisation,” said Hardiman.

Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) is Malaysia’s largest transshipment hub with the capacity to handle 13 million TEUs annually. The port delivers reliable, efficient, and advanced services to major shipping lines and box operators, providing shippers in Malaysia and abroad with extensive connectivity to the global market. PTP is currently ranked 15th among the world top container ports.


Photo credit: Port of Tanjung Pelepas
Published: 1 March 2024

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Alternative Fuels

Wallenius Wilhelmsen to order four additional methanol DF PCTCs

Newbuilds will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.





Wallenius Wilhelmsen PCTC order

Roll-on/roll-off (Ro-Ro) shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen on Tuesday (27 February) declared options to build four additional next-generation Shaper Class pure car and truck carrier (PCTC) vessels.

The 9,300 CEU methanol dual fuel vessels can utilise alternative fuel sources, such as methanol, upon delivery. They will also be ammonia-ready and able to be converted as soon as ammonia becomes available in a safe and secure way.

“Together with our customers we are committed to further shaping our industry and accelerating towards net zero. These new vessels are a vital part of that journey,” says Xavier Leroi, EVP & COO Shipping Services.

This latest commitment brings the total number of Shaper Class vessels currently on order with Jinling Shipyard (Jiangsu) to eight. Wallenius Wilhelmsen also retains further options.

The first of the Shaper Class vessels already ordered are expected to be delivered in the second half of 2026. The four additional vessels under the declared options will be delivered between May and November 2027.


Photo credit: Wallenius Wilhelmsen
Published: 1 March 2024

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