An example of a damaged plunger. Image Credit: Aderco
The recent spate of “bad bunker” problems in the US Gulf market, and more recently Panama and Singapore, have been well documented.
First emerging in April, so far over 100 vessels are understood to have affected. The most common complaints are sticking of fuel plungers, blocked fuel filters, and/or fuel-pump seizures and failures.
With the industry still looking for a resolution to the matter, fuel treatment firm Aderco has put forward a “get me home” solution for those hit by bad bunker problems.
“Whilst not a magic wand, we offer a practical solution that can help ships affected by contaminated fuel reach port safely. Contaminated fuel is a real threat to marine engines and our fuel treatment Aderco 2055G can mitigate problems that can have serious mechanical and financial implications,” says Olivier d’Olne, Group Technical Director of Aderco.
Olivier d’Olne, Group Technical Director, Aderco
There will be serious issues experienced by different blended fuels
“Ships affected by contaminants can limp back to port but often the strain on the crew and the mechanical systems can be disastrous. Among the problems can be plungers sticking, injection valves damaged and needing to be replaced, broken rings, cracked pistons and even connecting rods bent.”
As has been previously discussed in these pages, while experts differ on the root causes of the problems, what is clear is that in many cases the fuels are reported to meet ISO 8217 specification, making it difficult to identify the “bad bunkers” without additional testing.
As such, D’Olne believes pre-emptive action “can certainly lessen the damage.”
“Aderco fuel treatments have strong detergency properties and this leaves a coating around the aromatics (heavy hydrocarbons) and reduces the polymerisation that is destructive to the engine,” he says.
“We understand that we are currently the only company offering a product strong enough to control these aromatics.”
Looking further ahead, a number of new fuels are expected to come onto the market in response to the upcoming global 0.50% sulfur cap on marine fuel that comes into force from January 1, 2020, and D’Olne has also echoed concerns from others in the industry that the introduction of these new fuels will also mean the introduction of a new set of quality challenges for operators.
“There will be serious issues experienced by different blended fuels and we are telling our clients that by using fuel treatment they can remove the fears over new compliant fuels.”