1m tonnes of off-spec fuels detected every year, report finds

A new report from Lloyd’s Register and marine consultancy Thetius estimated that in excess of 1m tonnes of off-specification or non-compliant fuels were detected in vessels each year, costing ship operators between $27,000 and $50,000 per incident.

The report into the market, technology, and regulatory trends of fuel oil bunkering is titled ‘Testing Times – The vital role of ship fuel oil testing and quantity verification in an uncertain era’.

The report said that the introduction of biofuel oils, a growing prevalence of bunker licensing schemes, along with upcoming changes to ISO standards for marine grade fuels, made it more vital than ever that ship operators received the correct advice and oversight on bunker procurement and refuelling operations.

The report also highlighted a number of contributing factors that had made the market prone to serious issues, including the Russia/Ukraine crisis, fraud and corruption, lack of supply chain transparency and climate change.

Matthew Kenney, Director of Research and Consulting at Thetius said that “the evidence gathered in this report paints a worrying picture for ship operators who are facing increasing cost and risk from contaminated fuels while tackling a myriad of other challenges. Significant gaps remain where opportunities for poor quality and off-quantity bunker deliveries can gain and maintain a foothold.”

Andrew Shaw, Managing Director of LR’s Fuel Oil Bunker Advisory Service (FOBAS) said that the research highlighted the issues surrounding fuel quality and the importance of testing in an era of contamination and new blended products that put at risk the safety of crew, the environment and the protection of the vessel as an asset.