Mass Flow Metering system mandatory in Singapore from January 1st

From January 1st 2017 Singapore, a leading bunkering port, will implement the mandatory use of the Mass Flow Metering (MFM) system, reports insurer and P&I Club Skuld in a Member Alert. The MFM involve devices installed on all bunker vessels licensed by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) to deliver Marine Fuel Oil (MFO) to vessels bunkering within the Singapore port waters.

The automated system dispenses with conventional sounding of the MFO in bunker tanks; the quantity of oil transferred from the bunker vessel to the receiving vessel will be automatically measured by the MFM device as the oil passes through the device. At the completion of bunkering the device will issue a printed Bunker Metering Ticket (BMT) showing the delivered quantity, as witnessed by the bunker vessel’s cargo officer, chief engineer and the MPA-licensed bunker surveyor, if one has been appointed.

The Bunker Delivery Note (BDN) prepared by the cargo officer will be based on quantities stated in the BMT and it will be presented to the chief engineer to sign. This will be at the same time as when the BMT is signed by both the cargo officer and chief engineer, with both documents being attached to each other and copies thereof distributed.

Skuld noted that, since the mandatory MFM system for bunkering in Singapore is a completely new practice, there was no official historical record of issues, problems, disputes and steps taken, whether technically or legally to resolve disputes.

“A few bunker suppliers have apparently practised the use of the MFM system in more recent times and there have been (unofficial) reports of satisfactory results for a vessel’s bunker final receipt quantity (as measured by the vessel) but there are also reports (unofficial) of shortage in deliveries and ensuing disputes”, said Skuld.

The insurer said that, because the MFM procedures will be totally new to most ship operators and their shipboard personnel, “it would be advisable that owners or charterers who are having vessels bunkered in Singapore port on/after January 1st, 2017 to always arrange through their local shipping agents a licensed bunker surveyor to attend”.