For the past two weeks we have seen an increased number of P&I and Hull claims related to High Sulphur Fuel Oil stemmed at Singapore and which were found to be contaminated with chlorinated compounds.
We are seeing damage to fuel injection pumps, injectors, and filter elements and some have an issue with purifier systems. Organic Chlorides are not naturally present in crude sources and their presence in marine fuels is a cause of concern. If present in the fuel, these cannot be detected using the standard ISO test methods and, like any other chemical and organic compound, it can only be ascertained by adopting advanced investigative analysis such as the GCMS (Gas Chromatography - Mass Spectrometry) test.
As per MARPOL Annex VI regulation 18.3 and the International Marine Fuel Standard ISO 8217, Clause 5, marine fuels should be free from chemical waste or added substance that may jeopardise the safety of the ship or affect the performance of the onboard machinery.
In view of the above, Skuld would advise its members to follow all risk mitigating procedures including taking the GCMS test in addition to the standard ISO test when taking on bunkers in Singapore. We also advise our members to contact the suppliers regarding this issue and they should provide additional reassurance that the fuel is fit for purpose. Please note that the contamination issues mentioned above do not apply to all bunkers suppliers in Singapore.