AsiaBunkering

Singapore investigates contaminated HSFO cases

Singaporean authorities have launched an investigation into contaminated high sulphur fuel oil (HSFO) sold by two bunker suppliers after 34 ships were hit by off-spec fuel in February and March according to fuel testing company Veritas Petroleum Services. The names of the two suppliers in question have not been revealed. Roughly half of the ships that reported off-spec fuel also lost power.

Splash first reported on the contaminated fuel issue in Singapore, the world’s largest bunkering hub, on March 9 including details of a number of ships losing power as a result of the poor fuel quality.

P&I club Skuld revealed in a recent update that over the past fortnight it has received an increased number of P&I and hull claims related to HSFO stemmed at Singapore and which were found to be contaminated with chlorinated compounds resulting in damage to fuel injection pumps, injectors, filter elements and purifier systems.

“Organic Chlorides are not naturally present in crude sources and their presence in marine fuels is a cause of concern,” Skuld stated.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

Comments

  1. History repeating itself. Sampling and testing was routinely required after a previous spate off such HFO some years back so it seems owners/charterers have been cutting costs by not requiring sampling and testing. The cost of such testing is minimal compared to damage and loss of hire.

  2. Singapore the world’s largest bunkering port is also responsible for maximum fuel contamination seen in recent times. The contamination is definitely deliberate hence the Government needs to go deep into the issue and catch and punish everyone (including the top bosses) involved. I do pity the engineers of the ships that had contaminated bunkers. Their life must be real miserable.

    1. Don’t you mean “History repeating itself. Sampling and testing was routinely required after a previous spate of such HFO some years back so it seems owners/charterers have been cutting costs by not requiring sampling and testing. The cost of such testing is minimal compared to damage and loss of hire.”

      1. History is definitely repeating itself. Sampling and testing I am sure is being carried out, however, by the time the test results come in (for the trace elements and chemicals) the ship would be a minimum of 5 days away from the bunkering port and would have no choice but consume the contaminated fuel and face serious engine troubles. Engine wear down (to a level of non performance) too is time dependent and in most cases the vessel is far away for an immediate remedy.

        1. Funny that after the previous major contamination problem and government intervention the problem disappeared immediately. As I clearly stated “it seems owners/charterers have been cutting costs by not requiring sampling and testing. The cost of such testing is minimal compared to damage and loss of hire.” And that is the problem.
          If suppliers know their product is being sampled and tested they know they will have a problem defending any claims. Prior to the the last spate owners had been warned of the developing problem but they preferred to risk the damage and pass costs to H&M and P&I. Sorry, I have little sympathy for bean counting cost cutters.
          Also, testing does not take a week, as you imply.

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