FOBAS Alert: Off Spec Sediment Fuels from ARA region

Monday December 16, 2019

Recently we issued a bulletin drawing attention to a number of high and off-spec sediment fuels from Antwerp. Since then we have continued to see a very high number of fuels with high and off-spec Total Sediment results from Antwerp and other ports in the ARA area. The majority of these fuels have been VLSFO and ULSFO fuels. Results range up to 1.12%m/m with many between 0.20 and 0.40%m/m, more than double the |ISO8217 limit of 0.10%m/m.

As well as the off-spec fuels there have been a high number of VLSFO fuels from the same area with Total Sediment between 0.07 and 0.10%m/m. Fuels in this Sediment range are within spec but have a higher risk of issues with instability.

Fuels with high sediments can result in excessive sludge deposition in tanks and throughout the handling and treatment/fuel injection systems, possibly leading to engine fuel starvation due to blocked filters. Furthermore, the attempted use of such fuels can result in highly compromised combustion leading to engine and turbocharger damage.

In view of the above, if your ships are planning to bunker in that region, we recommend that suppliers are advised of your concerns regarding the stability of the fuel in the area, and that they provide you with additional reassurance that they will adhere to the ISO 8217 requirements for the grade ordered.

Additional attention should be given to the collection of bunker samples. It should be ensured that all parties have witnessed the sampling process and have signed witness forms accordingly, and that the supporting documentation includes records of all the samples considered representative of the fuel as loaded.