In a move which has been widely hailed as a milestone for the bunker industry, the use of mass flow metering (MFM) for heavy fuel oil bunker deliveries in Singapore became mandatory on 1 January 2017.
The Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s (MPA’s) efforts have been greeted warmly by many in the industry who see MFM as an important tool for developing more transparency and accountability in the bunker supply chain.
One company that has welcomed this news is World Fuel Services Corp, which has said it applauds MPA’s leadership and welcomes the opportunity to work with bunker partners and customers who are interested in using MFM in other ports around the world.
When a mass of liquid passes through an oscillating tube, the inertia effect of the moving liquid will cause the tube to twist – and the twisting will be in direct proportion to the liquid’s mass flow. Mass flow meters are composed of one or more tubes and use sensors to calculate the degree of vibration, which is what indicates the mass flow. This means there is no requirement to change conventionally-measured volumes of fuel to mass – MFM measures the mass directly.
MFM is an established, proven technology. It has already shown its worth in the bunker industry over the past few years, and it has been employed for many decades in other sectors of the oil industry, especially on land and in refinery operations. MFM is extremely accurate. Indeed, TR48 (the technical reference for bunker mass flow metering) requires that mass flow meters operate to an accuracy of +/- 0.5 per cent.
Using MFM should be a win-win for both the bunker supplier and the buyer. MFM’s greater accuracy ensures that shipowners get exactly the amount of fuel that they paid for, and that the supplier is not giving away any extra fuel. MFM is also much faster and more efficient than using soundings, so it saves time and money for both parties.
There are other operational benefits too. Mass flow meters can provide a real-time digital display of critical parameters such as flow rate and pressure, which means that any potential problems or abnormalities can be addressed, and corrected, immediately on site. Additionally, the actual quantity delivered at any given time is displayed in real time.
Bunker disputes about fuel quantity and quality can be time-consuming, costly and highly damaging to the relationship between buyer and seller. While it will never be possible to eradicate disputes entirely, the procedures that MPA has put in place will help to remove some of the key causative factors.
Singapore is the first port in the world to make MFM mandatory for heavy fuel oil bunker barges. The question is: will it be the first of many? Although no other port authorities have indicated that they plan to follow the mandatory route, MFM is steadily gaining traction in markets across the bunkering world.
More suppliers worldwide are introducing mass flow meters on their barges, not because they have to, but because they see a benefit for the industry in doing so. MFM can help to bring greater efficiency, transparency and honesty to the bunker business – and these are qualities that have a global currency.
Red Sea Bunkering acquires new vessel to provide offshore services
Djibouti-based bunkering services company Red Sea Bunkering has acquired the company’s first owned bunker barge. The vessel, Red Sea 1, was acquired for US$4.2 million.
Red Sea 1 is a 9,600 dwt double hull tanker, with total capacity of approximately 10,000m3 and equipped with three cargo pumps of 500m3 per hour each, a bow thruster and a stern manifold. The vessel can supply, simultaneously, both intermediate fuel oil 380 cst and regular and low sulphur marine gas oil.
“The purchase of this vessel comes at a key point in Djibouti’s development as a regional centre for bunkering,” says Aboubaker Omar Hadi, chairman of the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority. “The new liquefied natural gas and oil terminals being built will further cement the nation’s role as a major refuelling, bunkering and transshipment centre in the region.”
Red Sea Bunkering is a ship-to-ship fuel bunkering servicing company exclusively operating in all ports and territorial waters of Djibouti.
The company is owned as a joint venture between the Djibouti Ports & Free Zones Authority, which has a 55 per cent stake, and the Dubai-based energy and trade investment firm United Capital Investments Group.
Red Sea Bunkering has 10 Djibouti nationals employed in the trading, marketing, logistics, operations and finance fields. It plans to develop Djibouti nationals to operate as crew on Red Sea 1.
Djibouti is strategically located near the world’s busiest shipping lanes, controlling access to the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. As well as being a major bunkering and transshipment centre in the region, it is a burgeoning commercial and trade hub.
MAN Cryo to deliver LNG
supply system to Italian ferry
MAN Diesel & Turbo brand MAN Cryo has struck a contract with Sefine Shipyard in Turkey to deliver a liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply system to a new ropax ferry ordered by Italian ferry operator Caronte & Tourist.
The LNG supply system consists of a 150m3 vacuum-insulated storage tank, with auxiliary equipment including an LNG vaporiser, a pressure build-up unit, a bunker station and a heat exchanger.
The MAN Cryo system will supply gas to the ferry’s three dual-fuel propulsion engines and is scheduled for delivery in November 2017.
The equipment will be installed on board the double-ended ropax ferry, which has been designed by Norway’s LMG Marin. It will primarily operate on the Strait of Messina between Villa San Giovanni and the city of Messina.
The 133m long and 21.5m wide ferry will have capacity for up to 290 cars on two vehicle decks, and 1,500 passengers.