Polls from our webinar on running a two-stroke engine following IMO’s mandated changeover to low sulphur fuels offer a window into industry experience during the first few months of the sulphur cap
The webinar, part of our multi-week series beginning with this week’s Maritime Propulsion Webinar Week, took aim at bringing peace of mind to owners and operators running two-stroke engines on very low-sulphur fuel oil (VLSFO).
Attendees heard reports from Veritas Petroleum Services’ (VPS) Steve Bee, Shell Marine Products’ John Schakel, Lloyd’s Register’s Tim Wilson and MAN two-stroke engine specialist Kjeld Aabo on how the industry was adapting to IMO’s recently implemented rules on carrying and burning lower sulphur fuels.
In relating their key takeaways from the discussion, the panellists agreed that the historic shift to new fuel blends in shipping had created a "learning curve" for the industry.
"Remember, we are only four months into using this this new fuel whereas we have 40-50 years of using the more traditional fuel," VPS’ Steve Bee said. "So we’re very much on a learning curve all together."
Regarding updated standards coming out of the fuels changeover, Lloyd’s Register’s Tim Wilson said a review of the ISO 2017 standard was underway and the next revision, likely to come out in 2023, was "going to be the biggest one".
Overall, the panellists passed on to operators a few consistent messages based on their learnings from the first few months of operations under the sulphur cap: monitor, manage, inspect and understand your engines.
"For me, it is the cylinder condition monitoring," said Mr Schakel. "Knowing your engine condition and also knowing the history of your engine."
Fuel and lubricant management, cylinder condition monitoring, knowing the engine’s history and manufacturers’ specifications, communicating with charterers, planning orders and facilitating crew understanding of all the above are now, more than ever they said, fundamental to avoiding any of the potential pitfalls associated with fuel blends.
Ultimately, as Mr Aabo said, "it is how to be prepared, how to treat to treat the fuel before [it gets to] the engine itself".
"This is not heavy fuel oil. We are now talking about very low sulphur fuel oil," he said.
In terms of industry perceptions on the sulphur cap implementation, the webinar saw attendees answer polls covering their experiences with fuel oil availability, lubricants and inspections.
Up to 15% of respondents said they had experienced availability issues with 0.5% sulphur fuels. At 37.5%, more than one in three owners or operators have had port state control inspectors come on board to check sulphur cap compliance. And just over 17% reported having had issues in obtaining 40BN lubricants.
You can view the webinar, in full, in our webinar library.
And you can sign up to attend one of our many upcoming webinars on our events page.