VPS' Warning to Bunker Buyers Over ISO8217:2016 Changes Highlighted Again at SIBCON

Tuesday October 11, 2016

Warnings issued earlier this year by global fuel testing agency VPS over proposed changes in the latest draft specification for marine fuel, ISO8217:2016, were raised again last week at SIBCON.

As previously reported, the change to clause five effectively removes wording preventing the addition of chemical waste into fuel, amongst other things.

"We do not agree that such an important clause should be removed," VPS' Captain Rahul Choudhuri, Managing Director – Asia, ME & Africa, said during a round table discussion on the matter.

"Fuels need to be fit for purpose. I don't think we can move ahead if you are going to compromise safety and reliability."

One shipowner commented that the change appeared to "take responsibility for supplying a fuel that was fit for purpose away from the supplier and back on to the owners."

Currently, clause 5 states: "The fuel shall not contain any additive at the concentration used in the fuel, or any added substance or chemical waste that jeopardizes the safety of the ship or adversely affects the performance of the machinery, or is harmful to personnel, or contributes overall to additional air pollution."

The revised clause states only that "the fuel shall be free from any material at a concentration that causes the fuel to be unacceptable for use in accordance with the Scope of this International Standard."

Discussing the issue with Ship & Bunker after the session, Choudhuri said removal of the clause would be "inexcusable."

"This standard is likely to be released early next year and if such a fundamental clause is removed for vested interest sake – then that would be an inexcusable development for the bunker industry which needs to be seen to be moving forward with improvements and not make it more difficult for a fuel user to claim vis a vis a contaminated fuel," he said.

"Apart from this, the inclusion of the ISO 4259 into the main body of the new standard under Clause 8 means that it will be more easy for any supplier to use the reproducibility criteria to defend against off-specification fuels."

Choudhuri says the ISO committee has yet to give a clear explanation as to why the clause has been removed even after receiving a similar response from member states on the matter.