Singapore Players File Houston Bad Bunker Claims

Monday April 8, 2019

Singapore-based entities Centurion Bulk Pte Ltd (Centurion) and Toyota Tsusho Petroleum Pte. Ltd. (Toyota Tsusho) have taken action against NuStar Energy Services, Inc. (NuStar) over alleged "bad bunker" incidents stemming from last year.

Centurion says its chartered vessel m/v San Antonia lifted fuel in Houston on March 15, 2018, but initial testing of the fuel on May 5 by FOBAS determined that the fuel was not fit for use.

"Based on the sample as tested and analysis carried out, there is evidence for the presence of fatty acids, Bisphenol F, Bisphenol A and other oxygenated compounds. These components are not products of petroleum refining and not expected to be found in marine fuels. In view of their nature and the operational problem reported by vessel, their presence contravenes the stipulations of Revised MARPOL Annex VI Regulation 18 and International Marine Fuel Standard ISO 8217, Clause 5," the FOBAS Fuel Quality Investigation Report says.

"The vessel reported severe operational problems in the fuel system and in particular in the fuel injection equipment (sticking of the fuel pumps) during the use of the fuel loaded Houston on March the 15th 2018," the report adds.

Such symptoms were typical in a spate of similar bad bunker problems last year with fuels supplied in Houston, Panama, and Singapore.

The BDN and sales agreement submitted as part of court documents filed in recent weeks show $230,823 of fuel was delivered in the dispute deal, including 540.68 mt of HSFO at $336/mt and 86.13 mt of MGO at 570/mt.

Toyota Tsusho, meanwhile, says its vessel m/v Beatrice was supplied 840 mt of IFO380 on April 19, 2018, at a price of $341/mt

Subsequent testing of that fuel is said to have shown it was off-spec as the calcium, phosphorus, and zinc content exceeded the maximum specifications allowed under ISO 8217.

Toyota Tsusho says it was able to sell on the unsuitable fuel at $78/mt but has yet to be reimbursed by Nu Star for the incident.

The firm is is claiming a total $421,784.94 as a result, which includes $164,484.94 in debunkering and other associated port fees, and $257,300.00 in costs to replace the alleged faulty fuel.

Despite data from fuel testing companies supplied to Ship & Bunker indicating as many as 200 vessels were affected by last years bad bunker problems, the root of the issues were never fully understood.