Choose you bunker supplier wisely, says Gard. File Image / Pixabay
With little or no headway made in identifying the root cause of the recent spate of fuel contamination problems, bunker buyers should choose their supplier wisely and pay close attention to the bunker contract, says Gard.
In particular, the maritime insurance firm says that when buyers are looking to buy bunkers they should consider the market reputation of the supplier, any recent history of being them involved in the supply of contaminated bunkers, and the supplier’s financial standing.
Looking that the supplier's Terms and Conditions, and their willingness to renegotiate the contract, is also important, with Gard advising that pre-delivery bunker testing should be part of the contract.
As Ship & Bunker has already discussed in detail, the problem fuels are not identified with typical ISO8217 tests.
Bunker quality disputes can be very lengthy, costly and complex
"Gas Chromatography combined with Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) and Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) still remains the only reliable means of establishing whether the bunkers are contaminated," Gard notes.
With Peter Grunwaldt, Head of Bunkers at Hafnia, recently telling Ship & Bunker certain suppliers have been hiding behind time-bars to avoid dealing with "bad bunker" claims, Gard says other contractual points to look for include time bar length and any disclaimer excluding warranty as to fitness of the fuel.
"Bunker quality disputes can be very lengthy, costly and complex but can be avoided if a sound decision is made as regards selection of the supplier and negotiation of the bunker contract," says Gard.
"Increased dialogue between suppliers and buyers (time charterers or owners of voyage chartered vessels) may be needed to achieve the right level of understanding and cooperation."
Gard full advise can be found here: http://www.gard.no/web/updates/content/26219179/contaminated-bunkers-protecting-the-purchaser