"Elevated" Water Levels in Hong Kong Bunkers

by Ship & Bunker News Team
Wednesday July 15, 2020

Elevated water levels have been found in very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO) bunkers in Hong Kong, recent fuel testing data shows.

"The water can also be seen to be of salt water origin due to a corresponding increase in Sodium over the same period, although both should be safely removed by efficient purification onboard the vessel," bunker trading platform ENGINE noted in a post on LinkedIn post.

Water levels of as much as 0.45% of volume have been found, it added, meaning such bunkers can not be classified as off-spec. It is unclear how much higher than usual such levels represent. 

The latest 2017 and earlier revisions of the ISO 8217 marine fuel specification permit a water content of 0.45% for the most common fuel oil grades such as RMG.

Still, high water content can mean lower overall calorific content per tonne and as such is a factor when comparing the price of fuel from different sources.

Ship & Bunker data indicates VLSFO in Hong Kong is currently $348/mt, meaning water content could be priced in as much as $1.74/mt while remaining on spec.

Additionally, there have also been variances of up to 4% from the density noted on the bunker delivery note in Hong Kong VLSFO, the company said, which in itself may add as much as $19/mt to the effective price.