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VPS investigation identifies over 40 vessels with major engine damage since VLSFO switch

15 May 2020

An investigation conducted by an experienced team* at international fuel testing and inspection company Veritas Petroleum Services (VPS) has identified over 40 vessels suffering from major engine damage since starting to bunker Very Low Sulphur Fuel Oils (VLSFOs).

The vessels, in all cases, saw calcium compounds being deposited on the piston top despite the use of 40BN (base number) engine oil as recommended by suppliers.

The recent discovery, available in a whitepaper, was part of results found through detailed analysis from Oil Condition Monitoring (OCM) and Fuel Quality Testing (FQT) services introduced by VPS.

“The investigation identified that the reserve BN in the cylinder oil was not being utilised to neutralise the acids formed during the fuel combustion process. This resulted in calcium compounds being deposited on the piston top, which became hard and abrasive causing liner wear, liner scuffing and piston ring breakage resulting in serious operational issues,” stated VPS.

“The investigation also identified excessive liner wear on the cylinder units of two‐stroke engines since the introduction of VLSFOs. This damage to engine components has a detrimental impact on vessel operability and has been investigated in this report.

“Engines affected were not limited to any specific Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) but from many of the major engine makers in the marine industry. In all cases VLSFO fuel quality was tested and found to be acceptable and the original cylinder oil that was used was 40BN grade supplied from most of the key suppliers.”

The full white paper describes several useful preventative actions that can be taken by ship operators using VLSFOs to help protect engines and avoid costly operational issues arising from excessive liner wear.

The document is now available on request from VPS and describes in detail:

  • Problems related to excessive liner wear due to abrasion by hard calcium deposits
  • The potential cause of the deposits from the Lubricating Oil and
  • Suggested measures to prevent engine damage

If you would like to receive the full VPS White Paper, “Engine Protection for VLSFOs” please e‐mail: info@v‐p‐s.com

(*) The investigation utilised the VPS international network, but the key players and authors of this report are:

  • Stanley George – Marine Engineer, 30 year’s experience of marine fuel testing & condition monitoring (P&I Clubs, V‐Ships, Marine Lecturer, sea‐going)
  • Adrian Allman – Chemist, 30 year’s experience of lubricant testing & advice (SGS, Saudi Aramco, Castrol)
  • Paul Parkinson – Chemist, 25 year’s experience of fuel testing & OCM (SGS, Vernolab)

 

Photo credit: Veritas Petroleum Services
Published: 15 May, 2020 

 

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