Balboa Bad Bunker Claim: Meadway Seeking $2.1M in Damages After Main Engine Injectors Seize

Monday August 6, 2018

Meadway Shipping and Trading Singapore Pte (Meadway) has taken legal action against Integrity Bulk ApS (IBAS) in an alleged bad bunker claim for fuel lifted in Balboa, Panama.

In a complaint filed July 30 in the United States District Court for the District of Delaware, the fuel is alleged to have caused all six fuel injector pumps of the main engine of bulk carrier M/V Asl Luna to seize.

In keeping with a large number of similar "bad bunker" complaints that have emerged over recent months originating from the US Gulf, Panama, and Singapore markets, the complaint states that laboratory testing of the fuel show it contained "[t]otal phenol content [that] adds up to 106 ppm (normally less than 100 ppm)" along with tall oil components and 2,4-dittertbutylphenol that are "contaminants are not normally found in bunker fuels."

IBAS is said to have been responsible for fueling the Vessel, having sub-chartered it from Meadway.

"In particular, the sub-charter stated that IBAS shall be liable for any loss or damage to Vessel caused by the supply of unsuitable fuels and/or fuels which do not comply with the specifications and/or grades including the off-loading of unsuitable fuels and the supply of fresh fuels to the Vessel," the complaint states.

On June 26, 2018, IBAS was said to have received a message, copied to Meadway, from the Vessel's Master advising that fuel provided to the Vessel at Balboa, Panama was unsuitable.

The Master of the Vessel was said to have advised that the injectors were seized on June 29, 2018.

Meadway says to wants to recoup "at least $2,154,999.84" for damages that have been caused, including $500,000 in loss of profit, $100,000 from reduced trading capabilities due to the suspected bunkers remaining on board, and $500,000 in damage to the engine.

Among other costs Meadway is looking to recover are a potential $300,000 for debunkeirng and $163,878 for the unusable fuel it had to purchase.

Over 100 vessels are suspected to have been hit by similar bad bunker problems, and while the Meadway complaint does not make any direct reference to ISO 8217, it has been noted that fuels associated with similar bad bunker issues are otherwise on-spec bunkers.