Fuel handling in Emission Control Areas


Published: 1 December 2014

The correct handling of fuel supplies and fuel change-overs will be a critically important task for vessels in ECAs post 1 January 2015. In the following advisory the Association would like to further advise members with respect to the technical and regulatory challenges on the horizon.

The development

There are now only a few short weeks before the most significant change-over in fuel sulphur content becomes mandatory in the North American and Northern European ECAs.

With the pending deadline of 1 January 2015, it is now critical to ensure that all vessels are able to meet both regulatory and technical challenges coming with the updated MARPOL Annex VI requirements compelling the use of maximum 0.10% sulphur content fuel.

Messrs. Alfa Laval have produced a note that explains some of these issues and gives loss prevention advice, which is reproduced here with their kind permission.

Issues and concerns

Alfa Laval highlight a number of potential issues and key concerns include:

  • engine rooms on existing tonnage were designed and built with the use of HFO in mind
  • ultra low sulphur fuel (ULSF) will have significantly different properties to HFO
  • such ULSF will need to be handled in a different way
  • tank space needs to be available to receive ULSF
  • cross contamination can occur very easily
  • advance planning of supply, storage and consumption needs to be done very carefully
  • effective fuel segregation is also important
  • managing the problems of wax and bacterial growth from ULSF
  • understand the specific characteristics of DMA, DMB and DMZ grades of gasoil
  • personal safety of engine room teams when undertaking maintenance

Loss prevention advice

Meeting the challenge of the 1 January 2015 requires careful advance planning that ensures vessels are ready, crews are well informed and trained in new procedures, and contracts are reviewed to ensure that risks and responsibilities are apportioned properly.

The Association has been publishing a number of articles to help guide members in advance of the upcoming regulations, see links.

Members are recommended that they take the extra time to review their present arrangements to double check and ensure that vessels and crews are ready for January. Shore teams - and which must include chartering personnel - also have to be fully up to speed as to what the new regulatory environment will demand. For vessel specific enquiries, members are asked to contact their regular Skuld Business unit.

The Association is grateful to Messrs. Alfa Laval for permission to republish their note on fuel handling.