Recently FOBAS has been informed of a number of vessels reporting problems during the use of fuel from ports around the Panama Canal. These issues include blocking of filters and sticking of fuel pumps. Initial investigations are still underway on these, however the problems being described bear a strong similarity to the ongoing problems with contaminated fuel in the Houston and wider US Gulf area. Until we have more results available we cannot say for certain, however indications seem to suggest that these issues could be continuations and may be due to the spread of similar fuels which are still being investigated in and around the Houston area.
We will monitor the situation and update further as we have further information but in the meantime we would recommend particular attention is paid to any sign of operational issues during the use of any fuel recently bunkered in Panama. Moreover, if your ships are planning to bunker in the region then suppliers should be informed of these quality concerns highlighted in this bulletin. Additional attention should be given to the collection of bunker drip samples, ensuring documentation and witnessing of manifold drip samples is as per industry best practice.