Two sulfur content non-compliance incidents detected by Maersk last year

Danish container shipping company Maersk Line has said that two instances of non-compliance with the 0.1% cap on sulfur content in fuel were recorded in two separate emission control areas in 2017.

In its latest “Sustainability” report, the company said that the two incidents were not made for the financial benefit and were a result of a human error.

In March 2017 a breach was determined on a Maersk Line vessel calling at Long Beach in California, with the sulfur content at nearly 0.2%.

“The internal investigation confirmed that the vessel carried compliant fuel and that the contamination was due to a human error in the switchover procedure,” Maersk said. In July 2017, a Maersk Line vessel in the port of Antwerp, Belgium, was in breach of the area’s fuel sulfur limit of 0.1%.

“Our internal investigation found that the vessel’s low sulfur fuel tank had been contaminated due to human error in operating two butterfly valves between the ship’s high sulfur and low sulfur fuel tanks. The contamination raised the sulfur level in the low sulfur fuel tank to around 0.2%,” the company said, adding that it implemented “a complete cleaning of the low-sulfur tanks and the onboard systems” and that it had implemented “specific procedures to avoid this kind of contamination on all relevant vessels.”

AP Moller-Maersk decided last year not to pursue the “scrubbers” option. Instead, the company opted to replace its bunker fuel with fuels with lower sulfur content.