Test results on new low-sulphur marine blends in Singapore have found sediment at levels that could damage the engines of ocean-going vessels
These concerns about safety and compliance come in light of the IMO 2020 sulphur cap which is now in force.
Tests run by Fobas, a unit of Lloyd’s Register (LR), showed samples ordered as VLSFO grades where total sediment potential results were above the ISO 8217:2017 limit of 0.10% m/m. The results ranged from 0.16% to 0.21% m/m.
Fuels with high sediment can result in excessive sludge in tanks which can lead to engine fuel starvation due to blocked filters.
An advisory notice from LR said attempting to use such fuels can result in highly compromised combustion leading to engine and turbocharger damage. LR also cautioned shipowners to seek assurance that the fuel grades they have secured are compliant with the ISO standard for marine fuels.
The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) issued a statement after Fobas’ warning.
ICS secretary general Guy Platten said “This is a pressing issue. Shipowners rely on many other stakeholders in the marine fuel supply chain, particularly bunker suppliers and oil refiners, to ensure we are all able to fully comply with the new regulations. We need the supply side to fully contribute to a smooth changeover so that we do not have any incidents due to incompatible fuels and we can ensure safe operations for our seafarers.”